IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Fictitious Capital and Crises


  • Meacci, Ferdinando


This paper is concerned with chapters 25-35 of Part V, The Division of Profit into Interest and Profit of Enterprise, of Volume 3 of Capital. These chapters may be properly grouped in an ideal Part to be possibly titled "Credit and Crises, or Money Capital and Fictitious Capital" and is referred to in this paper as 'the unidentified Part'. This Part should be strictly considered as a follow-up of Part IV, The Transformation of Commodity Capital and Money Capital into Commodity-Dealing Capital and Money-Dealing Capital (Merchant's Capital) in the sense that while the former deals with the role played by merchant's capital, and particularly by money-dealing capital, the latter deals with the obstruction or perversion inflicted on this role by money capital being turned into fictitious capital by an improper use of credit. The paper is structured in three ideal sections. The aim of the first section is to clear the debris of 'the unidentified Part' and to reconstruct Marx's own thinking about the nature and role of credit and of fictitious capital in relation to the concept of merchant's capital and to the phenomenon of crises. On the contrary, the second section, which is mostly focused on different forms versus different sets of crises, highlights some contradictions in Marx's unsystematic treatment of the relations between financial and real crises. The third section is derived from the arguments set out in the previous two sections. Its aim is to assess Marx's similarity with Keynes on the matter of 'money as money' and of financial crises. Its conclusion (which is also the conclusion of the paper) is that this similarity, however strong with regard to the role of money as a store of value, is bound to collapse if Marx's law of the falling rate of profit is believed to be true. For in this case the fictitious-capital theory of crises developed in 'the unidentified Part' acquires a secondary importance while financial crises come to be viewed as a typical effect, rather than as the cause, of real crises.

Suggested Citation

  • Meacci, Ferdinando, 1998. "Fictitious Capital and Crises," MPRA Paper 11761, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Apr 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11761

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dudley Dillard, 1984. "Keynes and Marx: A Centennial Appraisal," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 6(3), pages 421-432, April.
    2. Kenway, Peter, 1980. "Marx, Keynes and the Possibility of Crisis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 23-36, March.
    3. Smith, Adam, 1776. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1776.
    4. Giovanni Caravale (ed.), 1991. "Marx and Modern Economic Analysis," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 78.
    5. Ferdinando Meacci, 1989. "Irving Fisher and the Classics on the Notion of Capital: Upheaval and Continuity in Economic Thought," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 409-424, Fall.
    6. Smith, Adam, 2008. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations: A Selected Edition," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199535927 edited by Sutherland, Kathryn.
    7. Arie Arnon, 1984. "Marx's Theory of Money: the Formative Years," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 555-575, Winter.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Isidro-Luna, Victor, 2014. "¿Hacia dónde va el Banco del Sur? Revisando la experiencia del bndes en Brasil," eseconomía, Escuela Superior de Economía, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, vol. 0(40), pages 65-92, primer se.

    More about this item


    Marx; fictitious capital; money capital; financial crises;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • B14 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist
    • E11 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Marxian; Sraffian; Kaleckian

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11761. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.