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Confronting the Evidence: Marx's Historians on the Falling Profit Rate

Freeman, Alan (2004): Confronting the Evidence: Marx's Historians on the Falling Profit Rate.

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Abstract

This article presents a detailed textual analysis of Marx’s actual account of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall and attempts to recover the initial logic of the analysis It sets this against early discussion on Marx’s value theory and shows, in a non-mathematical manner, how a purely physical conception of the profit rate was substituted for the value profit rate, as a consequence of the interpretation of Marx’s value theory within a general equilibrium framework, introduced by Bortkiewicz and subsequently adopted by academic Marxism. It demonstrates how the consistency of Marx’s logic emerges on the basis of a temporal interpretation of Marx’s value theory. Presented to the 7th annual conference of the Association for Heterodox Economics, London, sessions on ‘Whig History in Economics and (re) interpretation of theory. City University, July 15-17 2005.

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