Factors that Limit the Life Span of the Capitalist System

In this final post in the series that began in January 2009, I will summarize the various factors that make impossible the permanent existence of the capitalist system of production.

First, let’s examine the effects of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. Many Marxists see this tendency as the crucial factor that dooms the capitalist system to perish in the long run.

Capitalism is above all a system of production for profit and only profit. But Marx showed that with the growth of the productivity labor—expressed under capitalism by a rise of the organic composition of capital—the rate of profit tends to fall. A major contradiction of capitalism is that though it is a system of production for profit its very development tends to lower the rate of profit. Doesn’t this make the downfall of capitalism inevitable sooner or later.

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