The ‘theses’ published in this chapter were written for the first time 15 years ago, then rewritten more than a decade ago as an intervention in a round table: some updating has been done for the present publication. They have had a long gestation: in fact, the maturation of the theses covers the author’s entire life in the university, first as a student and then as a teacher.
This chapter argues that Marxian theory together with financial Keynesianism may contribute to understanding the current ‘great’ capitalist crisis. Both however need some revision in the light of changing capitalist reality. The chapter first presents some considerations about the Marxian theory of crisis. It then does the same with some interesting developments within financial Keynesianism. The author’s perspective is that financial Keynesianism must be incorporated within Marxian theory. Marxian theory and financial Keynesianism must be reread in a long-run perspective of the capitalist dynamics. This will help to resolve internal difficulties of the theories. The chapter then discusses the idiosyncratic features of neoliberalism. The author refers to the interpretations of neoliberalism which see it not as a resurrection of laissez-faire but as a politically managed configuration of capitalism. The chapter then shows that neoliberalism was a kind of paradoxical financial and privatized Keynesianism, a money manager capitalism built upon a ‘concentration without centralization’ of capital, new forms of corporate governance, a new kind of aggressive competition, capital market inflation, manic savers leading to indebted consumption and a new active economic policy. It was a capitalist configuration which presented itself under the appearance of a ‘new’ capitalism. Finally, the chapter briefly discusses the global and European crises.
Translated from the Italian by Antoine Godin
The article gives an appraisal of Augusto Graziani's thought as a heterodox structural Keynesian. Graziani has always challenged the basic assumptions of orthodox theory by rejecting the initial definition of the economic and social world as being populated by identical individuals, where consumers are sovereign, technology is exogenous and money is neutral. Since the 1970s, Graziani's efforts have aimed at rebuilding on solid foundations the line of inquiry that sees capitalism as a ‘monetary economy of production’. Authors such as Schumpeter and Keynes, and before them Wicksell and Marx, were all key influences on Graziani's work. This theoretical attitude shaped Graziani's studies on the Italian economy within the European and the global landscapes. We are confronted here with an idea of state intervention where demand policies are not separated from supply-side policies, and are indeed embodied in a structural design to redefine the composition of production with great attention to the quality of labour. He reminds us that economic theory has to put at the heart of its discourse not the ‘imperfections’ of the market, but rather the ‘normality’ of power and conflict, not only between labour and capital, but also between fractions of capital, and between capitalisms.
‘Finance’ has been at the core of many, old and new, theoretical developments outside the mainstreams of macroeconomics. The focus here will be on circuitism, concentrating on finance for production and on the financial instability hypothesis put forward by Minsky. In the second and third sections of the paper I give a general picture of the ‘monetary circuit’. In the fourth section I discuss the old circuit theory of money of Wicksell, Schumpeter and Keynes (the Keynes before the General Theory). In the fifth section I make some comments on the Mises–Hayek line, also grounded in Wicksell's circuitism. In the sixth section I present an alternative path to the circuit and Keynesian-like conclusions, the path leading from Marx to Luxemburg to Kalecki: here the debate on finance underlines the presence of a radical problem of effective demand. In the seventh section I introduce Minsky's ‘financial Keynesianism’, where finance is related to investment demand and financial instability. I see Minsky as complementary rather than opposed to the circuitist line of thought. I argue in the conclusions that these traditions are relevant to understanding the recurring changes in capitalism and the current crisis. Indeed, the term ‘financial Keynesianism’ has taken a more concrete meaning, converging with what some authors prefer to define as ‘privatized Keynesianinsm’. In my view, some of Minsky's – and also Parguez's – views about economic policy are not only in accord, they also provide a way out from the blind alley of mainstreams and the limits of Keynesianism.
Riccardo Bellofiore and Marco Veronese Passarella
Augusto Graziani (1933–2014) was one of the most eminent Italian economists of the twentieth century. He is internationally known as the founding father of the theory of monetary circuit. His contributions to economic theory went beyond the circuit, especially in the early part of his career. They included both other theoretical areas (for example, a critical review of Walras's general equilibrium model) and the analysis of the ‘uneven development’ of the Italian economy. Even his approach to ‘circuitism’ was quite original and cannot be reduced to a special branch of post-Keynesianism. This introduction to the symposium on ‘The Economics of Augusto Graziani’ highlights some key points of his heretical thinking, and gives a quick summary of the papers that follow.