Episode 69: Henryk Grossman and “The End of Capitalism” (interview with Ted Reese)

Brendan and Andrew welcome Ted Reese to discuss his just-published book, The End of Capitalism: The Thought of Henryk Grossman. Ted explains how and why he became interested in Grossman’s thought. He and the co-hosts then discuss Ted’s staunch defense of Grossman’s breakdown theory (which holds that capitalist economies have an inevitable tendency to break down because they eventually fail to generate enough profit to allow capital accumulation to proceed). They also discuss Ted’s related claims that the rate of profit must inevitably fall toward zero, that “capitalism must end,” and that it “may have entered the process of a breakdown it cannot recover from.” Much of the discussion focuses on whether the breakdown theory holds up logically: can the cheapening of means of production, brought about by rising productivity, eliminate the alleged tendencies toward breakdown and a zero rate of profit? Ted says that if he cannot disprove Andrew’s critique of the breakdown theory, he will renounce Grossman. Andrew praises his scientific integrity.

During the segment, reference is made to Andrew’s just-published review-essay on Ted’s book.

In the current-events segment, the co-hosts discuss Pennsylvania’s primary elections, especially the nomination of Doug Mastriano, an arch-Trumpite and insurrectionist, as the Republican candidate for governor. If he is elected, can democracy in the US survive?

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

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May 27, 2022

1 Comment

  1. It sounds to me that part of Ted Reese’s argument is actually the absolute over-accumulation of capital: extra capital will not be invested because there won’t be extra profit.

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