Capital, Exploitation and Economic Crises

John Weeks Research on Money and Finance SOAS, University of London

Exploitation and Economic Crises (Routledge 2011) Available by email: Other papers at http://jweeks.The analysis I develop today is found in: .

Marx on crises: [When] the entire continuity of the reproduction process rests upon credit. a crisis must obviously occur — a tremendous rush for means of payment — when credit suddenly ceases and only cash payments have validity. p 490] . [Karl Marx. Capital III.

From commodities to crisis: .



. This requires the centralization of capital (ownership) to redistribute surplus value among productive capitals.Conflicts internal to capital intensify: Competition among capitals forces use of new techniques to reduce the value of commodities.

.The vehicle for the redistribution of surplus value within productive capital becomes the vehicle for the redistribution of surplus value from productive capital to financial capital.

profit of enterprise → profit of finance capital → speculative profit Which is the manifestation of capital seeking to escape the sphere of production.Real abstraction of capital: The successive forms of capitalist abstraction (value → money → credit. . etc) correspond to the process of distribution of surplus value through those forms.

All economic crises result from the conflict between the forces and the relations of production. between capital as ownership (relations) and capital as function (forces). .

To be more specific: Economic crises result from the conflict between the necessary replacement of fixed means of production (forces of production) and the necessity for capital to recover (realize) the full value of those fixed means of production (relation of production) .

To restate simply: Economic crises are the manifestation in circulation of an irresolvable conflict of the integration of production and circulation: fixed means of production must be replaced in their material form. but competition among productive capitals undermines the value of those means of production making it impossible to fully replace that value. .

. the irresolvable contradiction between the production and the circulation of commodities. were all manifestations of the selfdestructiveness of capital. as a financial crisis in 2008. as a crisis of productivity in the 1980s.What appeared as a crisis of profitability in 1929.

labor creates.And what appears as the creative power of capital is the collective labor of the working class. Capital destroys. .