Imperiled Economy I by Robert Cherry

By Robert Cherry

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The power of United States industry can be seen as allowing the domestic accords posited by the social conflict school - or as counteracting the basic tendencies seen by the other two camps. If so, then deindustrialization, the relative obsolescence of United States industry and intensifying competition from abroad, must have played a role in the resurrection of fundamental tendencies toward impasse. Even if one rejects the three basic tendencies, deindustrialization is crucial. 13 The Business Week emphasis on boosting productivity reflects the problem of deindustrialization.

Now we come to the key question: Is the new, balanced profit rate higher than, lower than, or the same as, the original one? To answer this question, Okishio makes a crucial assumption: through all the turmoil of the transition brought about by the change in technique in the one industry, the real wages of the workers have remained constant. And on this assumption, the Okishio Theorem can be stated: if the new technique yielded innovator's profits higher than the old balanced rate, then the new balanced rate must also be higher.

Driven by competitive strife, capitalism careens between the two horns of this dilemma, what Marx saw as a contradiction between production and realization ( 1967 c :244-245). 6 To Marx, crises are restorative, causing the purging of imbalances created by accumulation. Capitalism's internal contradictions "lead to explosions, cataclysms, [and] crises in which by momentaneous suspension of labor and annihilation of a great portion of capital the latter is violently reduced to the point where it can go on'' with accumulation (Marx 1973:750).

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