Marx on the business cycle

From Chapter XVII of Theories of Surplus Value:

But the crisis is precisely the phase of disturbance and interruption of the process of reproduction. And this disturbance cannot be explained by the fact that it does not occur in those times when there is no crisis. There is no doubt that no one "will continually produce a commodity for which there is no demand," but no one is talking about such an absurd hypothesis. Nor has it anything to do with the problem. The immediate purpose of capitalist production is not “the possession of other goods”, but the appropriation of value, of money, of abstract wealth...

Money is not only "the medium by which the exchange is effected," but at the same time the medium by which the exchange of product with product is divided into two acts, which are independent of each other, and separate in time and space...

That only particular commodities, and not all kinds of commodities, can form “a glut in the market” and that therefore over-production can always only be partial, is a poor way out. In the first place, if we consider only the nature of the commodity, there is nothing to prevent all commodities from being superabundant on the market, and therefore all falling below their price. We are here only concerned with the factor of crisis. That is all commodities, apart from money [may be superabundant]. [The proposition] the commodity must be converted into money, only means that: all commodities must do so. And just as the difficulty of undergoing this metamorphosis exists for an individual commodity, so it can exist for all commodities. The general nature of the metamorphosis of commodities—which includes the separation of purchase and sale just as it does their unity—instead of excluding the possibility of a general glut, on the contrary, contains the possibility of a general glut...

At a given moment, the supply of all commodities can be greater than the demand for all commodities, since the demand for the general commodity, money, exchange-value, is greater than the demand for all particular commodities, in other words the motive to turn the commodity into money, to realise its exchange-value, prevails over the motive to transform the commodity again into use-value.


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