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Karl Marx's thoughts on functional income distribution - a critical analysis

Hansjörg Herr
Institute for International Political Economy Berlin, 2018
Level: beginner
Perspectives: Marxian Political Economy, Post-Keynesian Economics
Topic: Macroeconomics
Format: Working paper/Journal article
Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/175885

Photo by Hennie Stander on Unsplash

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Karl Marx's thoughts on functional income distribution - a critical analysis

Hansjörg Herr  | 2018

 


Abstract: Keynes, following the tradition of Marx, argued that all values are created by labour and profits. However, functional income distribution between wages and profits is explained differently. 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. Given the capital stock, the profit rate can be calculated. The paper shows that Marx's explanation of functional income distribution has several theoretical and practical shortcomings. The Keynesian paradigm in the tradition of the original Keynes provides an alternative. Here the profit rate is given by processes in the financial market, and, among other things, by the interest rate. Monopolistic or oligopolistic structures, following the tradition of Kalecki, can also influence the profit rate. In addition, financialisation can push up the profit rate. Given the capital stock the consumption basket of workers depends on the level of productivity and the profit rate explained in a Keynesian and Kaleckian way.

Key words: Marxism, functional income distribution, Sraffa, Keynesianism

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