Diet Soap Rerun: Capitalism’s System Failure

The guest was Marxist economist Andrew Kliman. Kliman is a professor at Pace University, the author of two books: Reclaiming Marx and The Failure of Capitalist Production, and he was a returning guest to the podcast.

Here’s a description of Kliman’s book “The Failure of Capitalist Production.”
The reasons behind the global financial crisis and the Great Recession are the subject of much debate. This is the first book to conclude, on the basis of in-depth analyses of official U.S. data, that Marx’s crisis theory can explain these events.

Marx believed that the rate of profit has a tendency to fall, leading to economic crises and recessions. Many economists, Marxists among them, have dismissed this theory out of hand, but Andrew Kliman’s careful data analysis shows that the rate of profit did indeed decline after the post-World War II boom. He shows that free-market policies have failed to reverse that decline. This fall in profitability led to sluggish investment and economic growth, mounting debt problems, desperate attempts of governments to fight these problems by piling up even more debt – ultimately ending in the Great Recession.

Kliman’s conclusion is simple but shocking: short of socialist transformation, the only way to escape the ‘new normal’ of a stagnant, crisis-prone economy is to restore profitability through full-scale destruction of the value of existing capital assets, something not seen since the Depression of the 1930s.

Diet Soap Podcast #156: Karl Marx and the Robots

There are two guests this week: the University Student Zanda Knight and my son Benjamin Lain. We talk about Karl Marx’s Capital and try to answer the question “Why can’t a robot make value?” We discuss Data, Cherry 2000, and Marx’s notion of abstract labor time and exchange value. After this conversation you’ll hear the soundtrack for Brendan Cooney’s latest video from his Law of Value series. Brendan Cooney will be the guest next week.

Couple of announcements. First, I’m going to cancel the Podomatic feed for Diet Soap. Instead I’ll be hosting Diet Soap at and using Blubrry. If you subscribe to podcast through Podomatic you’ll need to change over to the new feed by the end of the month and I’ll be posting instructions and talking about how to do that in the weeks to come.

Second, I’m going to restart the Diet Soap Philosophy Workshop and add a new twist. While we’ll continue on discussing Hegel once a month, I’ve decided to open expand the workshop to a weekly format. That is, after each Diet Soap episode subscribers to the podcast will get a chance to participate in a conversation about it. So, yes, once a month there will be a Hegel episode, but subscribers will also get a chance to discuss all the different subjects that we cover or bring up their own ideas. The people at the Partially Examined Life are doing something similar for each of their podcasts and I thought it would be a good idea for Diet Soap. Finally, this month is when I’ll be starting a second podcast with C. Derick Varn called Pop the Left. That’ll be a monthly podcast that takes a critical look at the politics of the Left from a Leftist perspective.

You’ve probably noticed that Diet Soap has slipped into a biweekly schedule. I will be rectifying that and returning to a regular weekly schedule this month. Diet Soap should come out on Thursday, every Thursday.

I should also mention that I’ve started blogging for the Partially Examined Life, and that I’m continuing to blog for the Right Where You’re Sitting Now site and for I hope to include collaged readings of those blog entries in future episodes.