Interpretations of the crisis 1
John Weeks: Marx’s Theory of Value and the Global Financial Crisis / Moishe Postone: Crisis and Value / Verity Burgmann: The Global Financial Crisis and the Ideas of Antonio Negri
Marx’s Theory of Value and the Global Financial Crisisby John Weeks
The value theory of Marx explains the current crisis which no mainstream economist foresaw and most cannot understand. A fundamental contradiction characterises the capitalist process of production and circulation, the two fold nature of commodities, use value and exchange value. The abstraction from use value implies money, abstract labour in general. The development of capitalism proceeds by repeating this abstraction, money to representations of money, representations of money to abstract claims on ownership (‘stocks’), and, in the last twenty years increasingly arcane abstractions far from any concrete manifestation of productive wealth. The fundamental cause of the global financial crisis of the late 2000s has been the increasing distance between production and finance, with its form dictated by the abstract claims on wealth that created that distance, the dominance of finance over production.
Crisis and Valueby Moishe Postone
On the basis of a critical engagement with works by Robert Brenner, Giovanni Arrighi, and David Harvey on the current crisis, this paper will problematise the significance of value theory today.
The Global Financial Crisis and the Ideas of Antonio Negriby Verity Burgmann
Antonio Negri is well known for his ‘autonomist’ Marxist critique of classical Marxism for its emphasis on the dynamism of capital and his argument for a reorientation of Marxism to affirm the role of labour as an autonomous dynamic subject that determines capitalist development. This paper re-examines Negri’s writings over the past four decades in the context of the current Global Financial Crisis. It considers the general usefulness of his concepts—such as autonomy, class composition, cycles of struggle, the social factory, the circulation of struggles, Empire and multitude—for analysing class relations and the prospect of social change in the wake of the present crisis of capitalism. In the light of these concepts, it focuses in particular on his writings on Keynesianism and the New Deal period, which contain important insights into the relationship between capitalist crisis and policies to stimulate effective demand, and the reasons why such policies, in the long run, constitute ‘impossible reformism’ on the part of capital and will therefore do so again.