ERRATA On page 8 the following correction is needed: “Now given that annual personal consumption typically comprises the cumulative sum of 4 periods of production and circulation, and by reducing it to a single period, the amount of personal consumption is also reduced to one quarter its original size, and now that it is commensurate with circulating capital we find it is only one fifth the size of circulating capital.” The final sentence should now read “…only two fifths the size of circulating capital.” (The exact figure over the whole economy is 38.2% in 2019 and does not include imputations such as owner occupier rents amounting to 8% of GDP)


  1. Borzooieh says:

    So the question remains :
    Why capitalism is a temporary mode of production? If there is no internal contradiction to break its wings ?
    You are telling that the expectations and sophistication of working class will be so high that will lead to over throw of capitalism, if I am not mistaken . But if you put the level of self consciousness of working class in a graph , I don’t think that it shows a significant upward trend so far
    I believe that rate of profit is falling , of course there are counter forces to this fall , but in the long run they are not able to prevent this fall to reach to the point that the risk of investment allows any more investment , otherwise we would not call them counterforces, but main force of motion
    I’m believe that there is a breakdown point in capitalism , does it mean that we can wait and see to this event happen? of course not . The fact that capitalism is going to break , doesn’t mean that socialism will replace it automatically
    Capitalism will be dead , based on economic contradictions in it , but for building socialism we need self consciousness of working class

    • Thank you for the comment. The destruction of capital in the USA from 1980 onwards showed it was possible to reduce the organic composition of capital but not without defeating the organised working class first. Remember Reagan marching the striking traffic controllers into court in shackles. But they did and they restructured themselves and the world economy on this defeat and the defeat of workers in the USSR and China. So what of today? I am on record for first saying that I believe this decade will be the most challenging in the history of capitalism for the capitalists and that they do not have the capacity to resolve it. This includes the profitability crisis. And yes, even contained within the previous rise in the composition up to 2014 is the sharp fall in the rate of profit subsequently. By 2019 the rate of profit in US manufacturing had fallen by over 40%, unprecedented without a recession.

      You speak about a graph plotting class consciousness. But even here there are counter-vailing factors. The social weight of workers, their urbanization, their connectedness, their level of education, the level of culture, all of these provide the fuel to change working class consciousness. It just needs enough matches which capitalism provides. So I am on the side of the optimists having seen this before in South Africa in the early 1970s when change had become a burning issue.

  2. Thomas Weiß says:

    This will put to the test Anwar Shaikh’s presumption that 2018 was the low point between two long waves and we are now again at the rising part of the next long wave.

    • Thomas I just took a look at current freight rates for containers from China to the USA which have fallen below $1000 for first time since the pandemic hit. In real terms down 20% on 2019. Factor in the glut of cardboard boxes all of which suggests a deepening global recession. The confounding aspect is that there has not been a financial crisis, but this will come. So no long wave of prosperity, but the opposite, the failure of globalisation with profits flat on its back.

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