Academic journal article World Review of Political Economy

On Nikolai Bukharin's Interpretation of Marx's Scheme of Expanded Reproduction

Academic journal article World Review of Political Economy

On Nikolai Bukharin's Interpretation of Marx's Scheme of Expanded Reproduction

Article excerpt

Abstract: There have so far been very few criticisms of Lenin's and Bukharin's interpretation of Marx's scheme of expanded reproduction. This article, therefore, attempts a critical discussion of their views. As a result of the author's analysis, he finds that Lenin's interpretation is quite close to Say-Ricardo theory and has no connection with Marx's problem to be solved through the use of his scheme of expanded reproduction. Bukharin's interpretation is based on a breach of the principles of Marx's theory of surplus-value and accumulation of capital. First, Marx's major principles associated with the discussion are clarified, and then Bukharin's interpretation is checked against these principles which Bukharin should accept if he regards his interpretation is in accordance with Marx's theory. The author agrees with Rosa Luxemburg that there are no buyers for the surplus product to be accumulated in "pure" capitalist society in the light of Marx's theory of surplus-value and accumulation of capital.

Key words: Lenin; Bukharin; Marx; Rosa Luxemburg; scheme of expanded reproduction; surplus-value; accumulation of capital

Introduction

It might be useful for us to begin by examining the controversy regarding the subject of this article, to clarify the problems we are going to handle.

As Rosa Luxemburg pointed out in The Accumulation of Capital, Section II: Historical Exposition of the Problem, there has been a long lasting controversy regarding accumulation of capital. It started as the controversy between SismondiMalthus v. Say-Ricardo-MacCulloch and ended when the "legalist" Russian Marxists such as Struve, Bulgakov and Tugan Baranovski achieved a victory over the "populists" such as Vorontsov and Nikolayon.

According to Luxemburg, the central problem has been consistent from beginning to end-that is, who are the buyers and consumers of the surplus product in expanded capitalist production? Sismondi maintains that accumulation of capital is impossible because he could not find the buyers of the surplus product for accumulation. While Ricardo and Say insist that as goods can be bought one for the other, there will be no difficulties for the possibility of accumulation. According to them, we need only go on producing more and more. It is obvious that Ricardo and Say can maintain this only by leaving the circulation of money out of consideration and applying a barter system to the capitalist production.

Luxemburg says it is a contribution of Tugan Baranovski to introduce Marx's scheme of expanded reproduction into the controversy, and using his own scheme, Tugan Baranovski reached the following conclusion: "Production and the market are therefore the same, and since the expansion of production is unlimited in itself, the market, the capacity to absorb its products, has no limits either." Luxemburg concludes Section II: Historical Exposition of the Problem with the following comments: "Tugan Baranovski's approach, according to which capitalist production can create unlimited markets and is independent of consumption, leads him straight on to the thesis of Say-Ricardo, i.e. a natural balance between production and consumption."

The circle is closed, after nearly a century, and the controversy returns to its first round, that is, Sismondi v. Say-Ricardo.

The Structure of Marx's Scheme of Expanded Reproduction and V. I. Lenin's Interpretation

Lenin is regarded by Luxemburg as a comrade of so-called "legalist" Russian Marxists, represented by Tugan Baranovski. When Luxemburg published The Accumulation of Capital, all members but Lenin had departed from Marxism. In this section, we will show that Lenin's interpretation of Marx's scheme of expanded production is quite close to Say-Ricardo theory.

The following scheme of expanded reproduction which we investigate hereafter is the "initial scheme of expanded reproduction" of the "First Example" shown in chapter 21 of Capital volume 2, as follows:

I. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.