måndag 21 februari 2011

Duménil och Lévy och profiterna

De franska marxistiska ekonomerna Gerard Duménil och Dominique Lévy är intressanta, tycker jag. Deras bok Capital Resurgent: The Roots of the Neoliberal Revolution (Harvard UP, 2004) är en makro-nyläsning av 1900-talets ekonomiska historia och profitkvotens utveckling. De har en beef med Robert Brenner såväl som Kliman och Freeman - ingen verkar hålla med dem i deras definition av profitkvot. De hävdar att profitkvoten inte fallit ständigt sedan 70-talet, utan att den har återhämtat sig men att den finansiella sektorn är ett improduktivt "läckage" som gör att profiterna inte omsätts i investeringar och sysselsättning.

"Duménil and Lévy may also underestimate the centrality of worker exploitation to the late 20th century recovery. They clearly recognize that a major corporate offensive took place during this period, in which unions were crushed, wages repressed, the welfare state gutted, and corporate taxes slashed. But Duménil and Lévy report that the profit share in the U.S. has increased by only about 10 percent over the past two decades. By contrast, economist Fred Moseley (1997) estimated that the rate of exploitation in the U.S. increased by about 35 percent between 1975 and 1994, and Simon Mohun (2005) found that by 2001 the rate of exploitation in the U.S. had increased some 50 percent compared to its 1964-1982 average. Duménil and Lévy’s reliance on the conventional profit share measure, which elides the Marxian distinction between productive and unproductive labor, would seem to account for these discrepant results."
Matthew Nichter recenserar (pdf) Duménil & Lévys bok Capital Resurgent (Harvard UP, 2004) i Journal of World-Systems Research, 2008

Moseley, "The Rate of Profit and the Future of Capitalism", Review of Radical Political Economics, 1997
Mohun, "On Measuring the Wealth of Nations: The US Economy, 1964-2001", Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2005

Duménil & Lévy pratar vinstandel i en intervju om deras nya bok, The Crisis of Neoliberalism (Harvard UP, 2011):
"From one book to the next, we certainly deepened our understanding of social relations. We developed the original framework of analysis long ago, but the recent book elaborates on new empirical observations. Notably, the rise of the share of upper wages within total income appears as new trend of crucial importance. In the United States, no overall decline of the share of wages is observed. Thus the rising share of upper wages mirrors the distinct dynamics of this category of wages (not exclusively very high wages). It is not possible to approach these trends in terms of fractions of surplus-value and value of the labor power, considering all wages globally. The bipolar approach no longer matches the features of contemporary capitalism. Three components must be distinguished: (1) profits, whose share in total income grew; (2) upper wages, whose share also increased; and (3) the wages of the great mass of wage-earners, whose share diminished. Marxism can only gain from such an updating of its social framework.
The current crisis clearly emphasizes the importance of managerial classes in contemporary capitalism. Very high wages, the golden parachutes of upper executives, the bonuses of traders and other forms of supplements are major themes in the criticism of the excesses of neoliberalism. This is, however, only the emerged tip of the iceberg, since much more than top executives are involved. In addition, it would be difficult to discuss the future of neoliberalism, independently of these managerial logics.
In the analysis of the relationship between the upper fractions of capitalist classes and top managers, we use the notion of “hybridization” to refer to a form of convergence between social positions: capitalists increasingly benefiting from high wages, and high managers entering gradually more into the sphere of capital ownership due to their high incomes. At the top of social pyramids, it becomes more difficult to distinguish between capitalists and managers. Much empirical and theoretical work remains to be done."

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