REVIEW ARTICLE/K.K. THECKEDATH*
Once Again on the Falling Rate of Profit
Riccardo Bellofiore (ed) Marxian Economics: A Reappraisal (Vol I, II, Macmillan Press Ltd., London, 1998
This book in two volumes contains essays on Volume III of Marx's Capital. These are based on the presentations made at two conferences held in Italy on the occasion of the centenary of the publication by Engels of the third volume of Capital. The idea of holding such conferences was of Marco Guidi and Riccardo Bellofiore, who proposed the two conferences: the first, in Teramo, to be devoted to the past and present position of the Italian debates; the second, in Bergamo, to provide a forward-looking assessment of the more lively international research programmes.
It was the Bergamo conference which met with unexpected success, and "a timely interest by Macmillan". The papers in this book were first presented at the Bergamo conference in December 1994.
The publication of Volume III of Capital may be considered as the starting point of most of the controversies about Marx. The two most famous instances of alleged refutations of Marx are (i) the so-called 'contradiction' between the labour theory of value and the determination of prices of production, and (ii) the meaning and validity of the law of tendential fall in the rate of profit.
The old and new debates on Marx invariably seem to have two centres of gravity - price theory and crisis theory. But the monetary aspects of Volume ///, namely, Marx's analysis of bank money and fictitious capital, are generally neglected. In this book all these issues are discussed.
After Volume III was published it was pointed out that, in Marx's scheme for determining the prices of production, Marx had treated the left hand side and the right hand side of the equations differently.
* Wilson College, Bombay
Social Scientist, Vol. 29, Nos. 5 - 6, May-June 2001