A Scheme of the Economic Cycle under Free Competition
The capitalist system in general is one of spontaneous regularities, including the spontaneous laws of the reproduction process: it cannot regulate itself according to rational, planned calculations. It enters spontaneously into a phase of industrial expansion, and it cannot overcome the crisis in a rational, planned manner. This chapter deals with the conditions of concrete capitalism during the epoch of free competition, assuming both its division into national economic units and the simultaneous existence of small-scale commodity production. The main, direct, and immediate cause of general economic crises in bourgeois society is the unevenness of reconstructing, and even more so, of expanding fixed capital. The genius of Marx was revealed not only by the fact that he was able to discover the laws of proportionality in capitalist reproduction, but also by his no less significant achievement in grasping the whole importance for the capitalist cycle of unevenness in reconstructing fixed capital.