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Duménil and Lévy and the Apotheosis of Capital

Graph below from Duménil and Lévy's (D&L) The Crisis of Neoliberalism (p. 61) [my previous post on their book here].
Note that contrary to the Fed's base rate, which is negative in real terms, the rates paid by corporations are relatively high. Note that firms my borrow to finance, not production, but to buy back stock and pay dividends, and enrich stockholders, including management. That's what happened according to D&L (see below, p. 62).
In other words, on average higher rates of interest (even if lower in periods of financial crises) sustain redistribution towards fat cats. The opposite of Keynes' euthanasia of the rentier indeed.


  1. Matías,

    I've been meaning to ask you this for a while, and as you touched the subject I think it's okay to ask.

    What are your thoughts about Duménil and Lévy? Do you find "The Crisis of Neoliberalism" convincing?

    What about John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. W. McChesney's "The Endless Crisis"?

    1. Hi Magpie. In all fairness, I never quite agreed with any of D&L ideas. They tend to see everything from a profit-led prism, which I don't find logically sound or empirically convincing. Having said that, they do provide a well of data that is useful on its own, and they hold a political position that is compatible with my broad views on capitalism and neoliberal policies.

  2. Hm. I see the point, but I also get the impression that in the current universe ANY rate of interest will sustain redistribution to fat cats. So long as borrowing in order to speculate is possible, then speculation is the way that things will go. Either the borrowing needs strings, or the speculation should have obstacles. I go with putting obstacles on speculation.

    1. I suppose there is a reason why owls are a symbol of wisdom. Nothing to add.

  3. Magpie, Owl, I'm waiting for your comments Hawk!

    1. Not much to say, really. A lot to think, though.

      But what about Bellamy Foster and McChesney?

      PS, it seems birds of a feather do flock together...

    2. Sorry for the delay in replying. I'm more favorable overall to the Monthly Review crowd. I particularly liked Paul Sweezy, and his book on Marx, The Theory of Capitalist Development (1942) seems to be amongst the best (both for his use of Bortkiewicz and his emphasis on realization crisis. Mind sometimes the profit-led closure also appears in their models.


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