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[Marxism] on economics & Michael Roberts

September 30th, 2015 · No Comments

I have never hidden my inability to understand economics especially in its mathematical guise. I sucked at maths at school and now have no time or inclination to fix all that up. But I have a fairly rudimentary understanding of the vaguest of outlines of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall (TRPF) school of thought that Michael Roberts belongs to. I read his blogs faithfully and puzzle over the stats and the graphs that Lou seems to love so much. His latest post on “crawl to crash?” predicts Armageddon within the next 3 years. For all I know he is probably correct. But what I sort of do not get is that he dismisses the alternative of a Keynesian solution out of hand. Of course Keynesianism is tied to increasing demand and that I suppose has no impact upon the TRPF. It seems to me that Roberts tends to dismiss the political and place all his bets on the economic structure. Thus he has talked of the need for capital to go through a crash to restore profitability. But that will have to be set within the political. There is already a struggle being slowly mounted against austerity, which is the political prelude to the crash (is it not?). I recall reading somewhere that Hayek’s preferred option during the Great Depression was to do nothing and let it rip. I cannot see that option being advanced now without a true fight. Perhaps it is the residue of Maoist thought in me (and I would always sworn I was immune) but if politics is not in command, at least it is never absent. Meanwhile, Corbyn has placed his bets squarely on Keynesianism and is rolling out Stiglitz and Piketty. Australia’s own Bill Mitchell has criticized Corbyn for talking about the deficit and for committing himself to “fixing” it. But, alas, the finer details of Mitchell’s New Monetary Theory remain outside my range of understanding. What I think I understand though is that Keynesianism will be insufficient and that only a thorough turn to a planned socialist economy can avert disaster. My interpretation is that Corbyn seems to be promising a return to the so-called “mixed economy” of the 40s to early 70s. Good luck on that one. Back in Oz though, I look at Corbyn’s rise with the sharpest of envy. Even the slightest talk of Keynes is beyond us, so committed are all the parties to neoclassical economics and austerity. The truth is that so battered are we and so stifling is the grip of neoliberal thought that I would welcome a break to Keynes, or at least a widening of the debate.. comradely Gary

Source: [Marxism] on economics & Michael Roberts

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