Michael Heinrich’s recent Monthly Review article claims that the law of the tendential fall in the rate of profit (LTFRP) was not proved by Marx and cannot be proved. Heinrich also argues that Marx had doubts about the law and that, for this and other other reasons, his theory of capitalist economic crisis was only provisional and more or less in continual flux.
This response shows that Heinrich’s elementary misunderstanding of the law––his belief that it is
meant to predict what must inevitably happen rather than to explain what does happen––is the
source of his charge that it is unproved. It then shows that a simple misreading of Marx’s text
lies at the basis of Heinrich’s claim that the simplest version of the LTFRP, “the law as such,” is
a failure. Marx’s argument that increases in the rate of surplus-value cannot “cancel” the fall in
the rate of profit…
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