By Tom O’Donnell
The current crisis is leading to a revival of interest in Marxism in general and in Marxist explanations of capitalist crises in particular. Even in Britain this occasionally reaches the commentary of the mass media. Unfortunately, the commentary is usually produced by non-Marxists who mangle ideas and reproduce only their own misunderstandings.
In particular, a persistent distortion of Marxist ideas is the notion that economic crises are caused by ‘under-consumption’. Under-consumption is the process where workers are denied the full value of their expended labour-power in the production of commodities, and so cannot consume all the commodities produced in any economy.