Karl Marx hypothesized that there is a long-term tendency for the profit rate to fall in capitalist economies. Immanuel Wallerstein hypothesized that capitalist development tends to drive up labor cost, material cost, and taxation cost. This book evaluates Marx’s and Wallerstein’s hypotheses by studying the long-term movement of the profit rate and contributing factors in major capitalist economies. During the twentieth century, leading capitalist economies largely succeeded in stabilizing the profit rate. However, the current decline of the profit rate in China may precipitate the global capitalist economy into a new major crisis. As economic growth slows down in all major capitalist economies, Marx’s original hypothesis may be verified by the global economic events in the twenty-first century.
Table of Contents
1. Capitalism and the Profit Rate
2. Profit, Accumulation and Crisis in the British Capitalism, 1855-2018
3. Profit, Accumulation and Crisis in the American Capitalism, 1900-2018
4. Profit, Accumulation and Crisis in the Japanese Capitalism, 1955-2017
5. Profit, Accumulation and (the Coming) Crisis in the Chinese Capitalism, 1980-2018
6. China and the Global Labor Arbitrage
7. The Past and the Future of the Profit Rate
Appendix A: Estimating the Profit Rate in the United Kingdom, 1855-2018
Appendix B: Estimating the Profit Rate in the United States, 1900-2018
Appendix C: Estimating the Profit Rate in Japan, 1955-2017
Appendix D: Estimating the Profit Rate in China, 1980-2018
Minqi Li is Professor of Economics at The University of Utah. He is the author of The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy; Peak Oil, Climate Change and the Limits to China’s Economic Growth; and China and the 21st Century Crisis.