SUMMARY OF THE BOOK The book provides an introduction to the Marxist economic analysis of the capitalist system. The first six chapters consider the structure of the economy and adopt an essentially static point of view. These chapters analyse... Read More
SUMMARY OF THE BOOK
The book provides an introduction to the Marxist economic analysis of the capitalist system.
The first six chapters consider the structure of the economy and adopt an essentially static point of view. These chapters analyse successively : 1. the basis of goods and services (namely labour, in combination with nature) ; 2. the basis of prices and revenues (namely value, i.e. labour devoted to the production of commodities) ; 3. the basis of profit and accumulation (surplus value, surplus revenue) ; 4. the basic economic ratios (rate of surplus value, composition of capital, rate of profit) ; 5. the competition for the share-out of surplus revenue between firms and between branches ; 6. the relationships between the capitalist sector and non-capitalist sectors.
The last three chapters adopt an essentially dynamic viewpoint and analyse various aspects of growth. Chapter 7 successively considers the development of mechanization, the contradiction between socialization of production and concentration of capital, the expansion of waged labour and market production, the human and ecological costs of growth. Chapter 8 deals with the conflicts over the rate of surplus value ; it shows that increases in general productivity make it theoretically possible to simultaneously raise profits, real wages and public expenditure. Chapter 9 deals with the problem of crises ; it shows how changes in the balance of forces, combined with the evolution of general productivity, have actually shaped the evolution of profits, real wages and public expenditure in advanced countries since 1950.
The conclusion moves out of the economic framework of the preceding analyses in order to show the various elements (in the socio-economic, political and ideological structures) which combine to make a joint contribution to the reproduction of capitalism.
Each chapter is complemented with a summary of the argument, as well as a selection of " theoretical " and " practical " exercises : the former are aimed at checking the assimilation of the material, while the latter enable readers to establish links between theory and present-day realities.
Thanks to its outstanding pedagogical qualities, the book constitutes a first-class textbook for students and teachers as well as for any interested reader, even without previous knowledge. At the same time, the book expresses (and justifies in appendices) a number of non-conventional theoretical viewpoints which deserve consideration by specialists.