Time to PANIC!!: Second-Quarter Real GDP Growth Looks Slow Enough to Put No Upward Pressure at All on the Employment-to-Population Ratio
Built to Bust

Friedrich Engels on Expansionary Fiscal Policy to Moderate the Business Cycle?

Julio Huato emails:

[I]n Anti-Duhring (part 3, Socialism), Engels kind of touches on the issue Brad raises (why didn't Marx note that public spending can prevent or alleviate a crisis?) http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch24.htm: Engels is arguing that the conflict between increasingly socialized productive forces and the capitalist form of appropriation flares up in recurrent crises. He then adds that the usual resolution of the crisis (de-valorization of productive wealth and further concentration of capital, leading to a further expansion in the scale of labor cooperation) is sort of a de-facto recognition of increasingly socialized character of the productive forces that capitalism promotes. Then, he says, the productive forces tend to rebel against the capitalist mode of production (I guess the idea here is that the conscious expression of this rebellion is the workers' class struggle), and that this rebellion "forces the capitalist class itself to treat them more and more as social productive forces, so far as this is possible under capitalist conditions."... But then, he adds... "the official representative of capitalist society — the state — will ultimately have to undertake the direction of production. This necessity... is felt first in the great institutions for intercourse and communication — the post office, the telegraphs, the railways." Banks and other financial institutions? Car makers?... This indicates very strongly that Engels and Marx didn't exclude the possibility of the state intervening to dampen the effects of a crisis. From there, I find it hard to believe that Marx would have rejected the notion that the state could take preemptive measures in the face of large disproportions, etc. [But] at the end of the day, the measures taken by the state "under capitalist conditions" could only shift the loci of crises and conflicts...