profit rate falling!

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Wed Mar 17 08:06:26 PST 1999

First to Angela, it has been a while since I thought about Postone's magnum opus. I can't speak for Andrew Kliman; I hope he is still on the line. Off the top of my head: I remain skeptical of the "functional" definition of abstract labor brilliantly developed by Postone, the treadmill effect in his proufound chapter "Dialectic of Labor and Time", and his embrace of social movements. Of course his Sohn-Rethel inspired emphasis on the derivation of 'forms of thought' and apparently a priori notions from the social relations of production strikes me as a very difficult argument to sustain, but most expertly done. It's a great, great book.

Now I had sent the following to Charles B privately a few days ago:

first, we need to develop our theoretical understanding of capitalism to determine the liklihood of the future development of an economic catastrope of sufficient depth and breadth to make a social crisis possible.

Then we need to begin to develop our theoretical answers to the different ways out of such a crisis and the class implications of the different proposals--import duties, creation of money, lower interest rates, tax reform, liberal fiscal policy, nationalizations, rationalizations, revolution. First homework assigment then would be a critique of the Keynesian Paul Krugman's analysis of "The Way Out" in his "Depression Economics" article in the penultimate *Foreign Affairs*.

All this work has to be done in anticipation of such a profound economic crisis in order to prepare ourselves to critique the bourgeois ways out of the crisis and lay the ground for revolutionary politics.We need to be able to do this kind of work quickly and decisively.

It is certain that a profound economic crisis in itself does not ensure a socialist evolution of the economy. Theoretical clarification is the central task at this point.

Yours, Rakesh

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