Anwar Shaikh

I am giving high priority to reading Anwar Shaikh’s new (2016) book “Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises” and will also view the video lectures.

The book’s web site, has lots of related material, including interviews, data sets for the empirical content, video lectures, chapter summaries for the first four chapters, and recommended chapter lists for “Quick Overview”, and for focus on Micro or Macro.

The video lectures are a two semester (one year) graduate level comprehensive economics course.

After quickly browsing pdf from Library Genesis a 1000pp hardcopy was despatched on 2017-10-04 and arrived on 2017-11-14. It is clearly a major work of great importance. However difficult it may be and however long it may take I have no choice but to study it very thoroughly as this will certainly be where people studying these issues seriously will meet, whatever their agreements and disagreements. Unfortunately the book is “hard work” and likely to have a small audience. But that audience will rapidly increase as the crisis will develop and it will include both teachers able to present it more widely, researchers able to improve it and eventually political activists able to develop policies and organizations that can use understanding of capitalism to change the world.

The subtitle alone is a good enough reason to read the book as “Competition, Conflict and Crises” are central to any work developing Marx and Maksakovsky from “pure theory” to a more concrete model.

The author’s attitudes give good reason to expect that any future audience for Maksakovsky will at some point come across this book and it looks like an excellent preparation for studying mainstream economics as well as heterodox critiques in order to write papers that will draw attention to the Marxist theory of crisis explained by Maksakovsky.

The author gives this description:

Very glad to hear you are reading my book. It is not intended as a “Marxist” text, but rather as an attempt to put forward a framework grounded in Smith, Ricardo, Marx and Keynes, that can address in detail the issues of concern to economists: microeconomic demand and supply, wage and profits, technological change, relative prices of goods and services, interest rates, bond and equity prices, exchange rates, patterns of international trade, effective demand, growth unemployment, inflation, national and personal inequality, and the recurrence of general crises, all based on real individual behavior and real competition.

I apologize for the length of the book, but a theoretical and empirical opposition to both orthodox and most of heterodox economics requires detail! I also tried to write in in a manner that would be accessible to non-economists, with nothing more difficult than the algebra in the Schemes of Reproduction in the text and the rest in Appendices.

In that regard, I had to cover a huge volume of literature in all traditions. You are absolutely right, I have not heard of Maksakovsky’s “The Capitalist Cycle”. But the argument as you describe it seems familiar, since Marx discusses the cyclicalcomponent of accumulation in various places. But there is also an extensive literature about crisis theory and the falling rate of profit including my own contributions beginning in 1978-80 available on my homepage (see under my email signature), and I make a sharp distinction between cycles and long waves in Chapter 2 and again in Chapter 16.

Most important to me is that the argument is built step by step, showing how the dominance of profitability gives rise to strong patterns visible in many different domains (see Chapter 10 for instance, and section VIII on the stock market in particular). I look forward to hearing again from you when you have had a chance to read through the book. Chapters 1-2, 6-8, 11, 13-14, and 16 are essential.

Best wishes


Anwar Shaikh

Professor of Economics

Department of Economics, Graduate Faculty
New School for Social Research
6 E. 16th Street, Room 1124

New York, NY 10003


Capitalism Book webpage:

Twitter: @shaikhecon

I am adding chapters 3 and 17 to complete the recommended “Quick Overview” first, that is 1,2,3,17.

Also chapters 5-6 and 10-17 are needed to complete the recommended Macro Focus reading path including the whole of chapter 10, not just the section VII on the stock market that the author mentioned together with empirical support in chapter 2 sections III-IV and chapter 16 section I in relation to his own views on “long waves” (which Maksakovsky does not support).

I will add the whole of chapters 10 and 16 to the Quick Overview first to complete the “Quick Overview plus long waves”.

Then continue with chapters 6-8, 11, 13-14 to complete the “overview and essentials plus long waves” list.

Then chapters 5, 12, 15 to complete “overview, essentials and Macro focus (including long waves)”.

So my full list before getting back to other work will be:

Chapters 1-3, 5-8, 10-17.That will leave only chapters 4 and 9 to complete the remaining parts of the “Micro Focus” and the whole book. I will come back to those later.

Hmmm, actually chapter 4 is on “Production and Costs” and chapter 9 is on “Competition and interindustrial relative prices”.

I vaguely recall that in the 1970s or 1980s Anwar Shaikh was pretty much the only academic who emphasized that Marx went into some detail about the distribution of techniques and regulating costs of production, carefully distinguishing between the below average, average and above average and how they varied in importance depending on the conjuncture with concrete relations of demand and supply. That is quite central to understanding Marx and Maksakovsky.

So, looks like I will just have to read the whole damn book chapters 1-17 before getting on with this web site!

But I will try to read and make notes on chapters below in roughly the above sequence:

1-3,17; 10,16; 6-8,11,13-14; 5,12,15; 4,9.

So far I have only looked at appendix 5 and the first part of chapters 1, 4, and 17 and appendix 4.1.

Won’t be able to do much annotation until I have read a lot more.

It will also be necessary to follow references to several other works by Sheikh (and coauthors) as well as citations to other authors.

In particular there will be a sub-category for main magnus opus “Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises”. Click that link for a list of all posts.

Each category (and sub-category) has its own RSS feeds.


Other subcategories will include:

Anwar M. Shaikh, E. Ahmet Tonak-Measuring the Wealth of Nations_ The Political Economy of National Accounts (1996).pdf

title =     {Measuring the Wealth of Nations: The Political Economy of National Accounts},

author =    {Anwar M. Shaikh, E. Ahmet Tonak},

publisher = {},

isbn =      {0521564794,9780521564793},

year =      {1996},

series =    {},

edition =   {},

volume =    {},

url =       {}


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