A Keynesian Takes on Karl Marx

In this reply, unless otherwise noted, text in italics and in brackets in Marx quotes is carried over from the version taken from the Marxist Internet Archive.

A friend N has asked if there is any difference between “the over-accumulation of capital” and “the overproduction of commodities.” Another friend M sent me a critical article by leading American Keynesian economist Brad DeLong on Chapter 17 of Marx’s “Theories of Surplus Value.” DeLong’s article is titled “Marx’s Half Baked Crisis Theory and His Theories of Surplus Value, Chapter 17.”

It so happens that in Chapter 17 Marx deals with the relationship between the “overproduction of capital”—also called the “over-accumulation of capital”—and “the overproduction of commodities.” The economists of Marx’s time—the middle years of the 19th century—admitted the “overproduction of capital”—equivalent to the over-accumulation of capital—while denying the “overproduction of commodities.”

Therefore, DeLong’s critique of Marx and N’s question about the relationship between the overproduction of commodities and the over-accumulation of capital are connected by Chapter 17 of “Theories of Surplus Value,” the target of Brad DeLong. It is therefore possible to deal with DeLong’s critique and N’s question in a single reply.

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