Profits At Record Highs?

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Red Hughs
Profits At Record Highs?
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On libcom board (and also in the latest issue of the journal Aufheben), claims have been made, with supposedly supporting evidence, that corporations are making record profits.

A used named "CRUD" posted these links:


Now, my interpretation of figures like this is that since capitalist production is extremely entwined with speculation, it's extremely difficult to extract the rate of profit from actual production out of the raw profit figures corporations post. Profits can include hedged "derivative" investments and similar things.

I would say capsizing world markets are much better guide to the condition of capitalist profits.

However, I think this an important question for us to keep an eye on. Anyone done research in this direction? 

Red Hughs

Sorry about the formatting, I was having trouble getting the preview to work...


Profit statements

I think using profit statements can be useful in certain specific instances. However, as evidence of capitalism's global health, it falls far short. State capitalist & Keynesian defecit spending, tax cutting, financial shell-gaming can play an enormous role in an individual corporations profit statements. Anyway, by themselves they don't give any incite into the workings of capital, the economic situation in reality, the politics of the bourgeoisie and their consequences, etc. It's like saying there is no hunger in Belgium because I document 200 overweight Belgians.. Were there any conclusions drawn from the Aufheben article other than certain corporations are posting high/record profit statements?

Red Hughs
I naturally agree with you on

I naturally agree with you on profit statements.

In the Aufheben article, I believe the argument was that because the rate of profit hadn't fallen, "no body really saw this crisis coming" and it was a crisis of speculation rather than a crisis of profitability. Most of the article was devoted to the particular mechanism of credit expansion and collapse.

Aufheben has taken the position that capitalism used the openning of China to acheive regeneration and thus it doesn't have an overhange of crisis potential reaching all the way to the 1980s. I think recent events contradict this.




A lot has been made in the

A lot has been made in the bourgeois press about some corporations--primarily the banks--making record profits admidst the continuing economic difficulties and stubbornly high unemployment. In the U.S. media, this has been used in the context of an anti-corporation campaign that has both left and right variants. The left-wing variant seeks to obscure the nature of the capitalist system in decomposition by drumming up support for the state as the bulwark against greedy socio-pathic corporations. The right-wing version drums up social emnity, suspicion and paranoia about a liberal/corporation (read Jewish and their Muslim servant Obama) conspiracy to take away American freedoms. An economic corollay of these campaigns is to argue that if the banks just stopped hording their cash and put it back into the economy, unemployment would be solved and the country would be whole again.

All of these arguments fail to understand the totality of decomposing capitalism, in which certain factions of the bourgeoisie are making out like bandits, exploiting the political difficulties of the state to effectively regulate society to score mega profits. Far from expressing the health of the captialist econmy, these super-profits--whether real or the result of speculation and book cooking--really express elements of its mortal crisis.