Crisis and Recomposition

  • Geoffrey Kay


‘No social order is ever destroyed’, wrote Marx in 1859, ‘before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replaced older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.’1 By these criteria no social order can enter a general crisis until it has realised its full historical potential and is no longer able to contain the social and material developments which it sets in motion. Thus capitalism survives so long as it can revolutionise and socialise production. Its development has been punctuated by periods of crisis when a particular line of advance has been blocked, but so far capital has been able to turn these crises to its own advantage. It has restricted their impact and succeeded in turning them into crises of recomposition, whereby the forces that appear to threaten the very existence of the capitalist mode of production become the basis for a new phase of development.


Social Capital Trade Union Underdeveloped Country Money Wage Capitalist Class 
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  1. 2.
    Harold Macmillan, The Middle Way, 1st ed., 1938 (London: Macmillan, 1966), p. 375.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    J. M. Keynes, Collected Works, vol. IX (London: Macmillan, 1972), p. 310.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    At the end of the General Theory, Keynes made a desperate effort to reconcile his work with traditional neo-classicism. ‘I see no reason to suppose that the existing system seriously misemploys the factors of production that are in use … When 9,000,000 men are employed out of 10,000,000 willing and able to work, there is no evidence that the labour of these 9,000,000 men is misdirected’ (J. M. Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (London: Macmillan, 1960), p. 379).Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    See Raul Prebisch, Towards a New Trade Policy for Development (New York: United Nations, 1964).Google Scholar
  5. A succinct summary of the report and voting pattern of various countries is contained in Harry G. Johnson, Economic Policies towards Less Developed Countries (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1967), pp. 251–4.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Geoffrey Kay 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Kay
    • 1
  1. 1.The City UniversityLondonUK

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