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In Marx's explanation of functional income distribution, wages are given as a basket of goods needed for the reproduction needs of the working class. Profits are then the remaining part of income creation. Marx's explanation of functional income distribution has several theoretical and practical shortcomings. The Keynesian paradigm in the traditional works of Keynes and Kalecki provides alternative explanations of functional income distribution. Here the profit rate is given by processes in the financial market and the degree of financialisation. Also the degree of monopoly influences functional income distribution. The Keynesian and Kaleckian approach allows a plausible interpretation of the changes in functional income distribution during recent decades.
Marx's and Keynes's analyses of capitalism complement each other well. In a largely general model including the public sector and international trade it is shown that the labour theory of value provides a sound foundation to reveal the factors influencing employment. Workers buy ‘necessaries’ out of their disposable wages from an integrated basic sector, whereas the ‘luxury’ division's revenues spring from other sources of income. In order to maximize profits, the wage–good industry controls the level of unit labour costs. Ultimately, effective demand governs the volume of work. On this basis, implications for economic policy are outlined.
With the implementation of the Eurosystem's asset purchase programme (APP), national central banks’ TARGET balances have risen. For the European Central Bank, this reflects cross-border payments and portfolio rebalancing in the context of the APP. Minenna et al. (2018) disagree and claim that the causes of rising TARGET balances (2015–2017) have been the persistent current-account surplus of Germany and ‘capital flight.’ This comment explains that rising TARGET balances occur under specific monetary policy configurations and that the context of the APP was critical to account for rising TARGET balances. It then questions the decomposition approach employed by the authors by arguing that it shows accounting correspondences, not causality, and concludes that there is no established two-way association between TARGET balances and actual vulnerabilities of the euro area.