Sustainability and Counteracting Factors to Profit Rate Decline

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    Abstract

    This paper discusses sustainability implications of barriers to growth as specified in the theory of the long-term falling rate of profit but focusing on the counteracting factors (CFs) specified by Marx. These depend much on political processes and are important in state theory for understanding policies of national and international institutions. Fourteen partly overlapping factors are identified and grouped in five categories: increased pressure on labor, geographical expansion, resource efficiency, technological progress, and destruction or devaluation of capital. It is suggested that there are limits to all of them and also that there is much room for continued capitalist growth. While the drive toward resource efficiency can contribute to sustainability, other CFs work against this. But increased sustainability requires the retirement of resource inefficient and carbon intensive technologies which implies a destruction of capital that will counteract the falling rate of profit. This will require sustained political intervention.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInnovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research
    Volume27
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)220-237
    Number of pages18
    ISSN1351-1610
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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