Marxism and Crisis Theory

In a comment on the post, “DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $700,000,000,000!“, leftspot wrote:

I really agree with comradezero’s point that, “this is a crisis of capitalism, and the reality is that all of this is tied to the fundamental contradictions of capitalism, which, in one way or another, will continue to sharpen until it is overthrown.” I think we have to take this out broadly, and really talk to people about how this is what capitalism is all about. We’re likely to experience much more willingness among broad sections of people to really listen to a Marxist analysis of capitalism right now than at any time in decades. Because Marxism can explain what’s going on in a way nothing else can.

So in that regard, let’s talk about Crisis Theory. There is a very cool video-blog called Kapitalism 101 which is inspired by the work of the Marxist political economist David Harvey. These videos outlining Crisis Theory are from there. It may be necessary to watch some of the other videos on that blog first. The “Political Economy of Capitalism” section of my ML study guide should be helpful as well.

The best short intro, as far as starting points go, is probably V. I. Lenin’s “Karl Marx”.

For more info on the current financial crisis, see “Shock and Awe on Wall Street“, “No Bailouts for Billionaires!” and “DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $700,000,000,000!“. Also helpful is “Some Talking Points on the Financial Crisis“.

Here are two sets of video’s from Kapitalism 101, each with two parts:

Overview of Crisis Theory:

Capitalist Equalibrium?


5 responses to “Marxism and Crisis Theory

  1. This is a good time to play catch-up on all marxist economics, huh? I am certainly behind. Just started finally reading Capital and gonna re-read Imperialism…

    Another resource people might find useful is this 23-page survey of some concepts of crisis theory, by Anwar Shaikh. It’s online at

  2. Isaac (or anyone) – do you know if Robert Brenner has written anything about the current capitalist crisis?

  3. He’s in the process of writing something now that will be out in a few weeks. Sometimes economists move more slowly than the economy :). Charlie Post and Chris Kutalik are writing something longer as well.

    At the bottom of our front page ( there are some links to articles from Against the Current, including one by Bob from early 2008…

    This article by Jack Rasmus is also good…

  4. Thanks for the links, Isaac.

    Here are three interesting articles form Michael Moore on all of this:

    The Rich Are Staging a Coup This Morning (Sept. 29th)

    Congratulations, Corporate Crime Fighters! Coup Averted for Three Days! (Sept. 30th)

    Here’s How to Fix the Wall Street Mess (Oct. 1st)

  5. I think the website does a pretty good job of summarizing the crisis of capitalism here as well:

    We recently had a very fruitful discussion of this and the economy in a local community discussion. I heard around 68% of the people, according to BBC, oppose or are unsure of the plan to bailout the rich. We owe it to the people not only to discuss this on online forums but in our communities and come up with immediate and long-term demands for economic stability and socialist revolution.

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