Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Capdown: Henryk Grossman and capitalist downfall

Capdown - Time For Change EP (1999)Capdown - Act You Rage (Single) (2003)

'Marxists cannot develop revolutionary theory in the 21st century without, in the process, returning to the ‘hidden from history’ debates which took place between Frederick Engels’ death and the rise of Stalinism. [Henryk] Grossman is an important part of our heritage, alongside other participants in those debates such as Luxemburg, Bukharin, Isaac Rubin, Pavel Maksakovsky, Roman Rosdolsky, and even the reformists Hilferding and Bauer.'
So noted Chris Harman in 2007, in a review praising Rick Kuhn's biography of Henryk Grossman, Henryk Grossman and the Recovery of Marxism.

The Tories are currently busy heralding the very mildest signs of limited economic growth as 'recovery' from the current great recession , but as the Marxist economist Michael Roberts notes, this is in large part down to a 'credit-fuelled property and financial asset boom' based in large part on a mini 'credit bubble' based around housing (anyone getting any sense of deja vu here?). 

Few people did more work on uncovering the crisis tendencies of the system than Karl Marx, and one of the most important Marxist economists in defending Marx's stress on the importance of looking at the underlying tendency of the rate of profitability to fall to see the roots of economic crisis was Henryk Grossman. 

Marxists, particularly Marxist economists, are therefore indebted to the continuing work of the team around Rick Kuhn who are in the process of translating for the first time the great corpus of Grossman's work into English from four languages over four forthcoming volumes (a taste of the first volume can be found in an essay ‘The Change in the Original Plan for Marx’s "Capital" and Its Causes' [an essay by Henryk Grossman]in the latest Historical Materialism journal, but available online in an earlier form here, with a contextualising introduction by Kuhn available here. Readers of Histomat who are interested in economic theory will also appreciate Grossman's essay ‘Fifty years of struggle over Marxism, 1883-1932’, about which Kuhn has again written a valuable contextual piece, bringing discussions around Marxist economics up to the present day.

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