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Friday, July 7 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Why Capitalism Goes into Crisis

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Marx recognized quite early on in capitalism’s youth that the system was prone to crises, “that by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial, each time more threateningly.” He noted that in such a crisis, “a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed,” producing mass unemployment and misery. We saw such a crisis in 2008. What causes these crises? Marx, and subsequent Marxists, have advanced a number of arguments over which there has been much debate—the unplanned character of the market in which investment eventually outstrips the size of the market; low wages that restrict purchases and shrink markets; high wages that cut into profits; the imbalances between different industries; and the tendency, over time, for the rate of profit to fall because labor, as the source of value, continually shrinks as investment in plant and machinery grow and productivity increases. This talk will attempt to provide a comprehensive explanation of capitalism’s periodic descent into crisis.

avatar for Paul Fleckenstein

Paul Fleckenstein

Paul Fleckenstein is a long-time labor and anti-war organizer, a contributor to Socialist Worker, and a member of the International Socialist Organization from Burlington, Vt.

Friday July 7, 2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Field C