The Great Recession - Profit cycles, economic crisis

The Great Recession - Profit cycles, economic crisis

"In my book, The Great Recession, I argue that the best short-term indicator of an oncoming capitalist slump or economic recession is the movement of profits – in particular, the total mass of profit." - author Michael Roberts

The Great Recession - Profit cycles, economic crisis.pdf878 KB

Posted By

Agent of the In...
Mar 25 2014 01:23



Feb 21 2015 03:50

Great Book

Mar 28 2019 16:42

A regular dip into Michael Roberts' blog is always well worthwhile even if you, like me, disagree with his own proposed 'socialist' solutions.
There are a good selection in the latest March 2019 listing starting with this as here;
And there is a good review of his other book titled 'The Long Depression' here:

Apr 23 2019 13:24
May 3 2019 12:19

A short effective blast against recurring notions of a possible ''progressive capitalism'' being argued by various economists advising governments to tackle their fears associated with growing levels of inequality producing working class rebellion and anti-capitalist sentiments:

May 24 2019 10:11

Modi's BJP has just won a resounding electoral victory in India despite all the reasons that might have suggested otherwise given their failure to even modestly tackle economic and social inequality amongst the masses of India's poor as this analysis illustrates well:
Surely also another example of a capitalist party employing it's version of 'identity politics' to sustain itself in power against the interest of the working class?

May 31 2019 12:36

An update from MR on the global risks of another recession from increased tensions in the USA/China trade war with a reference to their different 'triggers' rather than the underlying causes and a suggestion that the issue of the 'technology' gap between the two great powers seeking global influence and control might be relevant this time round;

Jun 18 2019 16:22

Michael Roberts has added this interesting comment on a book by Jorg Nowak which he sees reinforcing his own application of the 'Kondratiev-cycles' and it's relationship to advances and declines in the class struggle as viewed by the incidence and intensity of strikes (though it maybe ignores other factors related to class responses to wars). Could do with more understanding of Nowak's particular views on the changing nature of strike waves outside of the formal organisation of trade unions but haven't read his book myself.

Aug 22 2019 12:45

So what are ''inverted bond curves'' and what are the latest signs of a possible looming new phase of the recession and the fading worn out measures of the capitalist states and central banks to deal with it?
Michael Roberts tells all here:

Oct 12 2019 10:23

Latest in defense of Marx's Law of Value versus revisionist claims regarding 'Immaterial labour' and the extraction of 'rent income' in modern capitalism here:

Nov 22 2019 14:27

The Jorg Nowak book has lots of detail regarding the Indian Motor industry strikes and occupations which is useful, but the first third of the book is an overly long and boring PHd thesis type justification for writing it in the first place and justifying it's funding. Much better for the politically radical/revolutionary to plug into the work of the AWW for instance as here in part:
Might get round to the rest of the book comparing with Brazil.

Nov 22 2019 14:16

So a couple of good posts recently added provide some more very useful criticism of the misunderstandings of Marx's analysis by David Harvey and David Graeber respectively here: and

Apr 24 2020 14:52

A useful post added by Michael Roberts looking at the details of the Coronavirus Euro Crisis and the impact on Italy as formerly on Greece ...with his own solution of a shift towards a modest form of state capitalism unlikely to be adopted... leading perhaps to the break-up of the European Union in the not so distant future?

Apr 24 2020 23:44
Spikymike wrote:
A useful post added by Michael Roberts looking at the details of the Coronavirus Euro Crisis and the impact on Italy as formerly on Greece ...with his own solution of a shift towards a modest form of state capitalism unlikely to be adopted... leading perhaps to the break-up of the European Union in the not so distant future?

I've started reading some of Roberts' works (it's nice having actual economists working with Marx's theories and real world data) but I've yet to encounter anything that would raise a flag for me. I thought his review of Richard Wolff (I wouldn't even consider him a Marxist), who's currently selling discounted academic copies of his "Understanding Marxism/Socialism" pamphlet, was less scathing than he deserved (have only skimmed through it but the MHI seem to do a better job with that).

May 7 2020 10:44

There are the Stock Market fluctuations and then there is the 'real economy'. Michael Roberts clearly doesn't believe the hype about the so-called 'bounce back' as here:
and neither do Leftcoms with this inevitably bleak summary of the current global economy and the likely outcomes for the global working class, unless there is a far more substantial and radicalised upsurge of the class struggle internationally, with or without a unified revolutionary 'party'. See here:

May 31 2020 11:27

Michael Roberts looks to a more radical policy of state control (beyond that of China for instance) of the, still essentially capitalist economy, as a way forward to a some kind of 'solution' to the inevitable further sinking into the abyss of global economic crisis but it's hard to see how such measures even on a block scale let alone nation by nation could possibly work. Paul Mattick junior has a more realistic view referring to the floating by USA Democrats and other more Social Democratically inclined politicians of proposal for a massive job creation programme following the emergence from current emergency state support for the private sector economies, that this would involve ''government intervention on a scale amounting to nationalisation of the (whole) economy'' reminiscent only of the build up previously to world war!
See here for more on this:
Thanks to ZJW for pointing this out.

Jun 16 2020 15:35

So no takers for my last post above but there is more from Michael Roberts recently worth a look. Firstly an easy a humorous take down of yet another dud economist taken with Modern Monetary Theory here:
and followed by an interesting conversation of sorts with Prince Charles here:
You don't have to agree with all Michael's conclusions to get something useful from both of these.

Jun 16 2020 16:59

I read the second link recently but I don't see how just nationalizing stuff doesn't refer back to production for profit. I also don't guess he's of a revolutionary persuasion for how to go about replacing production for profit with need:

Roberts wrote:
Big capital is getting ready to try and ‘return to normal’ by boosting the profitability of capital by sackings, lowering wages and introducing robots and automation to replace living labour. But any resetting of the world economy cannot be achieved by ‘returning to normal’ ie with private profit as the driver of investment, production, employment, health and protection of the planet.

What would a resetting of the economy based on social need involve? Here are a few suggestions.

We need a global plan for full employment, with jobs for all at a living wage. Pensions and benefits for those who cannot work must be raised to at least two-thirds of the average wage.

We need substantial public investment in infrastructure and public services like health, education, housing and communications. Such a re-direction of investment could soon establish much of these services as free at the point of use globally.

And it must be investment that is in harmony with nature and the planet. The fossil fuel industry must be phased out, just as the tobacco and military should be. The technology is there to do it, what is lacking is the economic and political power in the hands of democratic institutions rather than in big capital and its representatives, who prattle on about ‘inclusion’ and ‘sustainable growth’.

Jun 17 2020 09:44

Agreed zugzwang as my earlier post and reference to Paul Mattick junior's text mentions.

Aug 7 2020 11:50

Michael Roberts makes some sensible and useful comments on the recent USA congress grilling of the big four tech monopolies with a sideswipe at Jacobin and Grace Blakeley and reference to the Marxist categories of 'rent' and 'surplus profits' but as usual can never get beyond his dogmatic 'nationalisation plus workers control' false concluding solution. Here:

Aug 13 2020 13:31

And very welcome is this clarification and correction to some basic errors in Robert's explanation of the Marxist 'Falling Rate of Profit' here:
The CWO should post in on Roberts own blog perhaps.

Sep 19 2020 23:35

Seems like the MR site has got a re-design, and there's also a youtube channel now

Oct 31 2020 17:02

Here is another contribution critical from a Marxist perspective of Modern Monetary Theory from the CWO that includes a travel through the function of modern money in time and space at it were in it's review of Stephanie Kelto's book titled 'The Deficit Myth' See here;

Feb 21 2021 17:55

Roberts adds some more criticism of Mariana Mazzucato here as she jumps ship from the Corbyn mission and looks for wider political circles to act as a favoured advisor: