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Marx, Globalization, and the Falling Rate of Profit: A Critical Study

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  • Miguel D. Ramirez

    () (Department of Economics, Trinity College)

Abstract

This paper argues that Marx’s views on globalization and its supposed inevitability underwent a substantial evolution and revision after the publication of the Communist Manifesto. His writings relating to India, and particularly China and Russia, show that he was no longer certain that “the country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future” (Vol. I, p. 13). In the case of China, a prime example of the Asiatic mode of production, Marx even doubted whether globalization (capitalism) would ever be able to accomplish its historical mission of developing the forces of production and creating the material conditions for a higher mode of production, viz., Communism. While in the Russian case, he seriously entertained the notion that it could bypass the hardships and vicissitudes of capitalism and forge its own unique path to socialism. If accepted, this interpretation represents a serious challenge to the universality and validity of Marx’s materialist conception of history. The paper also addresses the role of the law of the tendency of the falling rate of profit in the geographic expansion of competitive capitalism. It contends that Marx did not believe there was an iron-clad connection between the falling rate of profit and globalization; in addition, it argues that Marx believed that the capitalists’ insatiable search for colonial markets was driven by their desire to overcome recurrent (and growing) realization problems in the home market arising from deficient aggregate demand on the part of both workers and capitalists.

Suggested Citation

  • Miguel D. Ramirez, 2010. "Marx, Globalization, and the Falling Rate of Profit: A Critical Study," Working Papers 1002, Trinity College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tri:wpaper:1002
    as

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    File URL: http://internet2.trincoll.edu/repec/WorkingPapers2010/wp10-02.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2010
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Brewer,Anthony, 1984. "A Guide to Marx's 'Capital'," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521276764, May.
    2. Miguel D. Ramirez, 2007. "Marx, Wages, and Cyclical Crises: A Critical Interpretation," Contributions to Political Economy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 27-41.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asiatic Mode of Production; Globalization; Law of the Falling Tendency of the Rate of Profit; Materialist Conception of History; Underconsumptionist Tendencies.;

    JEL classification:

    • B10 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - General
    • E14 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Austrian; Evolutionary; Institutional
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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