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    Marx and Keynes by Paul Mattick 1955


    Number of posts : 50
    Group : Movimento Socialista Mondiale
    Location : Wales
    Website :
    Registration date : 2008-05-20

    Marx and Keynes by Paul Mattick 1955

    Post  Cesco on Tue Nov 04, 2008 3:16 am

    I copied and pasted parts of Mattick's Marx and Keynes work.

    I think that it is very up to date, and it worths a colser look.

    Who would like to read the full text can find it at the following link:


    From Marx and Keynes, Paul Mattick 1955.

    In the midst of the Great Depression, bourgeois economic theory was suddenly raised from the dead by the “daring” theories of John Maynard Keynes. His main work, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, was hailed as a “revolution” in economic thought and led to the formation of a school of “Keynesian economics.” While persistent “orthodox” economists opposed this new school as “socialistic” or “illusionary,” so-called socialists attempted to blend Marx with Keynes, or rather, to accept Keynes’ theories as the “Marxism” of our time.

    Economic categories were decked out in psychological terms, presumably derived from “human nature.”
    Keynes even spoke of the money-making and money-loving instincts of individuals as the main motive force of the economic machine. He believed that it is a “psychological law” that individuals tend to consume progressively smaller portions of their income as their incomes increase.

    When Keynes at such late hour, approached Marx’s position, it was not in order to point to an inherent contradiction of capital production but to hail the disparity between employment and investment as a great accomplishment.
    However, short of closing the gap between income and consumption it follows from Keynes’ theory that “each time we assure today’s equilibrium by increasing investments we are aggravating the difficulties of securing equilibrium tomorrow” [3]. For the next future, however, he thought these difficulties surmountable through government policies which diminished “liquidity-preference” and increased “effective demand” by controlled inflation, reduced interest-rates and lowered real wages, thus promoting inducements to invest. If these are not sufficient, the government can increase economic activity by public works and deficit-financing.

    Marx is not concerned with the supply and demand relations of the market but with the effect of the social forces of production upon the capitalist social relations of production, that is, with the results of the increasing productivity of labor upon the production of value and surplus-value.
    The special importance of labor and its increasing productivity in Marx’s scheme of reasoning led to his discovery of a definite developmental trend in capital accumulation, which revealed qualitative changes in the wake of quantitative ones.

    The increase of productivity...involves what Marx called a “rising organic composition of capital.” As profits are calculated on the total invested capital, they must show a tendency to decline as that part of the total which alone yields surplus value becomes relatively smaller. Of course, the process also implies an increasing ability to extract more surplus-value, thus nullifying the “tendency” of profits to decline, and constituting the reason for the process itself.

    In order to forestall a falling rate of profit, accumulation must never rest. More and more surplus-value must be extracted and this involves the steady revolutionizing of production and the continuous extension of its markets. As long as accumulation is possible, the capitalist system prospers. If accumulation comes to a halt crisis and depression set in.

    Both Marx and Keynes, then, though for different reason, recognize the capitalist dilemma in a declining rate of capital accumulation. Keynes diagnoses its cause as a lack of incentive to invest. Marx, looking behind the lack of incentive, finds the reason for it in the social character of production as a production of capital.

    Marx’s critique of classical economy, however, resembles Keynes’ criticism of the neo-classicists, although it cuts deeper than Keynes’ because the classicists had been profounder thinkers than their apologetic emulators, and because Marx was not a bourgeois reformer.

    Keynes’ model represents a closed system divided into two departments of production; one producing consumption goods and the other producing capital goods. The total money expenditure in terms of wage-units (based on the working hour) for both consumption and capital goods constitutes total income.

    Yet, government intervention during the depression increased employment to some extent. It may then be said that the theory proved itself in a very general way wherever it was employed, and to the degree in which it was applied. In this sense, however, Keynesianism would be just another name for governmental depression policies, and would exhaust itself in the suggestion that the government should take care of the anticipatory aspects of capital formation wherever private initiative begins to slacken.

    Not only from the Keynesian, but from any realistic point of view, government intervention is now regarded as an inescapable necessity. An increasing amount of “welfare-economics” is advocated by the proponents both of the “welfare-state” and of private enterprise. But even though nobody seems to doubt that government control is here to stay, the question of its character remains controversial. The Keynesians are generally for more government intervention, but as the consistent increase of government regulation and deficit-financing is synonymous with the transformation of the private into a state-capitalism system, it is often opposed as a form of “creeping socialism.” Because Keynesianism may also be regarded as a transitory state towards a completely government-regulated capitalist economy, it has become the theory of social reform within the capitalist system. It stands thus in strictest opposition to Marxism which concerns itself not with social reform but with the abolition of the capitalist system.

    Number of posts : 118
    Registration date : 2008-05-18

    Re: Marx and Keynes by Paul Mattick 1955

    Post  lucien on Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:12 pm

    very well. Mattick is one of my favourite authors.

    Number of posts : 50
    Group : Movimento Socialista Mondiale
    Location : Wales
    Website :
    Registration date : 2008-05-20

    Re: Marx and Keynes by Paul Mattick 1955

    Post  Cesco on Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:36 am

    lucien wrote:very well. Mattick is one of my favourite authors.

    Ciao Lucien

    I do agree with you. Mattick had the skills to explain difficult matters in simple words. He was real Marxist. I am trying to re-propose his works in this period of crisis and it would be nice to have them posted on your La Bataille Socialiste as well.
    I saw that you have already posted a long text of him (Crises et théories des crises) on it.


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