Capitalism's Collapse: Henryk Grossmann's Marxism

Science and Society 59 (2):174 - 192 (1995)
Henryk Grossmann regarded an account of capitalism's tendency to breakdown as an essential element of revolutionary Marxist theory and of the case against reformism. In 1929, Grossmann systematically elaborated Marx's argument that the tendency to breakdown is inherent in the capitalist production process itself, in the form of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. He demonstrated how this operates, using Otto Bauer's reproduction scheme; identified how the mass of surplus value can act as a trigger for economic crises; and examined the effects of countervailing tendencies in slowing the fall in the rate of profit. Grossmann has been criticized as a theorist of automatic collapse. This criticism misunderstands the method of successive approximation of reality which Grossmann both identified in Marx's work and used in his own argument. In fact Grossmann was committed to revolutionary working-class action to end capitalism and was, in this sense, an orthodox Leninist.
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