Questions and replies about Marxist political economy
By Nick Beams, 5 March 2003
The so-called Sraffa-based critique of Marxism, associated most immediately with Ian Steedman and his book Marx After Sraffa, is not an attempt to provide a solution to problems Marx left unsolved or to provide a correction to his supposed errors.
By Nick Beams, 20 January 2003
While it is not possible to determine in advance the forms of organisation that will emerge in the course of a series of economic and political struggles, there is no question that, given the vast changes in the economy over the past decades, they will involve the broad mass of the population.
By Mike Head, 14 October 2002
The development of capitalist economic relations shaped the content and structure of law in many ways but the most fundamental concern the core concepts of private property and contract.
By Nick Beams, 15 July 2002
The increasing social productivity of labour is expressed in the tendency of the rate of profit to fall because in any given quantum of capital, there will tend to be smaller proportion of living labour (the sole source of surplus value).
By Nick Beams, 30 May 2002
Dear Mr Beams,
By Nick Beams, 4 April 2002
Dear Nick Beams,
By Nick Beams, 19 March 2002
Emphasising the objectivity of his method in one of his last writings, Marx explained that what he began with was not “concepts” and hence not the “concept of value”. These had to be derived from an examination of objective social processes.
By Nick Beams, 25 February 2002
While an initial reading of Marx may well lead to the conclusion that so far as he was concerned services did not constitute commodity production, further examination makes clear that his definition of a commodity extended beyond the production of material things.
By Nick Beams, 20 February 2002
In this exchange, Nick Beams replies to questions from a reader about his analysis of the deepening contradictions in the US economy at the beginning of the 2000s.
By Nick Beams, 12 February 2002
In this exchange, Beams replies to a WSWS reader who writes, in critique of Marxist economics: “If capitalists extract too much profit, they destroy the ability of employees to buy.”
By Nick Beams, 6 February 2002
In this exchange, Beams replies to a reader who asks: “ What is the mechanism by which capitalism takes the surplus value extracted in one department of production (more labour intensive) and transports it to the profit and loss statement of another department of production (more capital intensive)?”
By Nick Beams, 8 January 2002
In this exchange, Beams replies to a reader, who asks: “In a socialist state, how would the matter of wages be settled?”
By Nick Beams, 17 December 2001
A reader asks: “Is it true that exploitation of workers leads to surplus, and that the increased surplus constitutes a lessening of demand? Would this be the fundamental contradiction?”
By Nick Beams, 26 November 2001
In this exchange, Beams replies to a reader who asks how the conflict between the growth of the productive forces and the nation-state system has expressed itself throughout history.
By Nick Beams, 10 August 2001
A reader asks: “If Japan added liquidity to their economy, would that let the US talk the dollar down?”
By Nick Beams, 8 August 2001
Keynes opposed the fundamental Marxist conception that the economic crises which wracked the capitalist system were the outcome of structural contradictions arising from private ownership and production for profit.
By Nick Beams, 17 July 2001
Beams replies to a WSWS reader, who writes: “If the Central Government ... makes a mistake, there is no real check and balance to correct the error.”
By Nick Beams, 22 June 2001
The argument of the proponents of the “free market” and capitalist ownership of the means of production is that socialism is “unnatural” and therefore doomed to failure because it violates the inherent drive in every human being towards the exclusive ownership of property.
By Nick Beams, 13 June 2001
In Volume III of Capital, Marx deals with the relationship between the different components of capital, showing how the surplus value extracted from the working class is divided among them.
11 June 2001
Beams replies to a reader, who writes, “human capital is not homogeneous” and therefore it “should not come as a surprise that human capital employed in the knowledge-based industries has a higher economic rate of return (or ‘surplus value') than human capital employed in low-skilled occupations.”
1 May 2001
A reader writes: “Your letter though intelligently presented still refuses to acknowledge the true nature of humankind.”
By Nick Beams, 1 May 2001
Beams replies to a letter from a reader about a previous correspondence, which states: “Your letter refuses to acknowledge the true nature of humankind. Centralised planning does not work and history has shown that to be true and so does the present. The freer the society the more prosperous it is.”
24 April 2001
To whom it may concern:
By Nick Beams, 17 March 2001
Dear Mr. Beams,
By Nick Beams, 9 March 2001
In the following correspondence, Nick Beams, a member of the World Socialist Web Site editorial board, replies to two readers on the issues raised by his article “Surplus value and the Bush tax cut plan” posted on March 5.
19 February 2001
24 November 2000
Dear WSWS Editorial Board:
3 August 2000
Dear Nick Beams,
13 May 2000
To the WSWS,
29 April 2000
Dear Mr. Beams:
29 March 2000
The following is a question by a reader in Germany concerning the law of the falling rate of profit and a response by WSWS Editorial Board member Nick Beams.
17 March 2000
4 March 2000
The following is a letter from a reader about socialist planning and a reply from World Socialist Web Site editorial board member Nick Beams.
A reply to Professor Chossudovsky's critique of globalization
By Nick Beams, 25 February 2000
The World Socialist Web Site is publishing here the third and final part of a three-part article by Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party of Australia and member of the WSWS editorial board, replying to an article by Professor Michel Chossudovsky, “Seattle and beyond: disarming the New World Order,” which was posted by the WSWS on January 15, 1999. Beams is the author of numerous articles and lectures on modern capitalist economy, including Marxism and the Globalisation of Production and The Significance and Implications of Globalisation: a Marxist Assessment.
1 November 1999
The following exchange concerning the breakdown of the profit system is part of an ongoing correspondence between Nick Beams, a member of the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, and WSWS readers over questions of Marxist political economy.
By Nick Beams, 30 August 1999
The following letter, written by WSWS Editorial Board member Nick Beams, replies to a message from a reader. The message is appended below.
Letter from a WSWS reader
24 August 1999
The following letter was sent by a WSWS reader. A reply, by WSWS editorial board member Nick Beams, can be found at: http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/aug1999/cor1-a24.shtml
By Nick Beams, 24 August 1999
The following is a reply by WSWS editorial board member Nick Beams to a letter from a reader, IM. The reader's letter can be found at: http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/aug1999/cor2-a24.shtml
20 August 1999
The following letter was sent by a WSWS reader. A reply, by WSWS editorial board member Nick Beams, can be found at: http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/aug1999/corr-a20.shtml
An exchange of letters
By Nick Beams, 20 August 1999
The following is a reply by WSWS editorial board member Nick Beams to a letter from a reader, IM. The reader's letter can be found at: http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/aug1999/cor2-a20.shtml
13 August 1999
13 August 1999
The following is a reply by Nick Beams to a series of questions raised by MM on Marx's theory of value. The initial e-mail, plus selections from subsequent correspondence, can be found at:http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/aug1999/val2-a13.shtml
23 June 1999
To the editor:
By Nick Beams, 16 June 1999
The following is the third in a series of exchanges between Nick Beams, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Australia and WSWS editorial board member, and Stan R. The earlier exchanges are linked at the conclusion of the present correspondence.