David Yaffe 

The Marxian Theory of Crisis, Capital and the State[1]

Written: 1972;
Source: David Yaffe, 'The Marxian Theory of Crisis, Capital and the State', Bulletin of the Conference of Socialist Economists, Winter 1972, pp 5-58.
Transcription: Steve Palmer.
Copyleft: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license permitting unrestricted copying for non-commercial use.

"The abandoning of the materialist basis leads inexorably from revolutionary socialism to reformism"

Henryk Grossmann [2]



1. Introduction

2. Marxist political economy
(a) Capital production
(b) 'Capital in general' and 'many capitals'
(c) Productive and unproductive labour

3. The general law of capital accumulation and the theory of crisis
(a) The rising organic composition of capital
(b) The tendency of the rate of profit to fall and the crisis theory

4. Incorrect versions of the theory of crisis
(a) The possibility of crisis confused with its cause
(b) The disproportionality thesis
(c) The unconsumptionist thesis

5. The state and the theory of crisis
(a) Introduction
(b) Theories of the role of armaments production in the economy
(c) State expenditure - conclusions


[1] This article is a development and clarification of the arguments contained in an earlier unpublished paper 'State Expenditure and the Marxian Theory of Crisis' written jointly (in August 1971) with Rudi Schmiede. With his permission I have directly used some of the material in that paper. It has been most helpful in reformulating and developing my arguments, to discuss with Robin Murray, Stephen Parker and other members of the Conference of Socialist Economists in Brighton. Thanks are also due to Roy Tearse for his comments on the earlier paper and, in particular, for allowing me to use some of the material from our joint work on value and price in the Marxian system which we hope to publish at a later date.

[2] Grossman, H. Das Akkumulations und Zusammenbruchsgesetz des Kapitalistischen Systems. Archiv sozialistischer Literatur 8, Verlag Neue Kritik, Frankfurt, 1970, p74.