Of Marx’s theory of ‘the tendency of the rate of profit to fall’ – set out in Capital III, edited by Engels – there are two main interpretations. For the first it is a theory of a trend-fall of the profit rate; for the second it is a theory of cyclical development of that rate. Both interpretations, however, are countered with inconsistencies in that text. This paper shows that Marx’s manuscript is less ambiguous, leaning more towards the interpretation of cyclical development, and that the first interpretation more likely expresses Engels’s view on the matter.
‘Zirkel vicieux’ or trend fall?; the course of the profit rate in Marx’s ‘Capital III’, History of Political Economy, 36/1, 2004, pp. 163-86