The Unsuccessful Attempt to Complete Marx’s Scheme of Reproduction

  • Tadeusz Kowalik
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought book series (PHET)


While holding the cognitive values of Marxian reproduction schemes in high regard, Rosa Luxemburg argued that Marx did not manage to utilize this analytical tool in analysing the specific features of reproduction and accumulation of aggregate social capital. She considered that this part of Capital (the third chapter of the second volume) was the least developed and the analysis of accumulation was barely initiated. Without further modifications, Marx’s scheme is useless in analysing capital accumulation since it contains a number of misleading simplifications that prevent the understanding of how aggregate capital moves. In her view, the defects of the accumulation scheme rest on a few erroneous assumptions:
  1. 1.

    The scheme assumes that capitalist production creates its own, adequately sized market. Consequently, there is an impression of identity between production and realization, which is, of course, contradictory to the ‘spirit of Marx’s theory itself’, and with many statements contained in the first and particularly in the third volume of Capital, where Marx emphasized the tendency of purchasing power (aggregate demand) to lag persistently behind rapidly growing production.

  2. 2.

    Marx omitted in the scheme the monetary form and phase of capital in the process of capital accumulation.



Capitalist Consumption Technical Progress Aggregate Demand Reproduction Scheme Social Product 
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  1. 2.
    Bauer, O. ‘Die Akkumulation des Kapitals’, Neue Zeit, 20(1), pp. 836 and 863. Bauer’s papers were repeatedly reprinted in the Soviet editions of R. Luxemburg’s work. Cf. e.g.: Luxemburg, R. (1934) Nakoplenye kapitala, Vol. 1 and 2, Moscow-Leningrad, pp. 339–58. Bauer’s scheme itself can be found in H. Grossmann’s book The law of accumulation and breakdown of the capitalist system: being also a theory of crises, London: Pluto 1992, p. 106, as well as in H. Trottmann’s book Zur Interpretation und Kritik der Zusammenbruchstheorie von Henryk Grossmann, Zurich 1956.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Lange, O. (1969) Theory of reproduction and accumulation, Oxford: Pergamon Press, pp. 32–3.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Cf. The following works of Kalecki: Essays in the Theory of Economic Fluctuations, London 1939;Google Scholar
  4. ‘Money and Real Wages’, 1939, in: Osiatyński, J. (ed.) (1991) Collected Works of Michał Kalecki, Vol. II Capitalism. Economic Dynamics. Oxford: Clarendon Press; Theory of economic dynamics, London: Allen & Unwin 1954.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Cf. Kalecki, M. (1968) ‘The Marxian equations of reproduction and modern economics’, Social Science Information, 7: 73–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 11.
    Kalecki presented the essence of his theory in the paper: ‘The difference between crucial economic problems of developed and underdeveloped non-socialist economies’. In: Osiatyński, J. (ed.) (1993) Collected Works of Michał Kalecki: Vol. V Developing Economies, Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2014

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  • Tadeusz Kowalik

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