Michael Roberts

Latest articles by Michael Roberts

Delusions of a progressive capitalism

Michael Roberts reviews Joseph E Stiglitz The road to freedom: economics and the good society Allen Lane pp384, £25

Monetarism and its discontents

Most mainstream economists still imagine that high interest rates are the most effective way to fight inflation. Michael Roberts begs to differ. Inflation is less a demand, more a supply issue

From magnificent to desperate

Share prices hit record highs, profits soar. Is another recession really off the agenda? Michael Roberts investigates present-day capitalism’s inability to end stagnation and revolutionise productivity

Regulation has failed

Gambling and swindling on a colossal scale. Hedge funds and bitcoin exchanges should be closed down, demands Michael Roberts

Not dealing with causes

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva is suddenly worrying about inequality, says Michael Roberts. A significant ideological shift away from the neoliberal consensus

Rules of the game

Liam Byrne reckons that the social mission of Labour is for ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ and yet the fundamental causes of inequality lie in the system of capital itself, writes Michael Roberts

Isabel Schnabel’s last mile

Central bankers are determined to keep interest rates high in an effort to dampen down inflation. But, as Michael Roberts explains, the reason why there has been a spike in inflation is down to supply issues and excessive profits, not excessive demand

One-trick pony

High end computer chips are now being made elsewhere. Michael Roberts looks at the economic and political background to last weekend’s elections in Taiwan

Sahm recession to downturn

There is a slowdown in productivity and world trade, and increased geopolitical rivalry, So, writes Michael Roberts, don’t expect increased growth

Hiding in the shadows

Interest rates are at a long-term high and look set to stay that way for at least a couple of years more. Michael Roberts warns that there are likely to be severe economic consequences

Marxism still the most compelling

Decline of US dominance, the rise of China and a lot of hype. Michael Roberts reports on a recent conference of left economists

Wages, profits and inflation

Are wages driving up prices, or are wages chasing higher prices? Michael Roberts comments on an interesting OECD report

A man much misunderstood

He helped develop the labour theory of value, he influenced Marx and he never worshipped greed. Despite that he is lauded by the ‘small state’, ‘let the market rule’ right. Michael Roberts assesses Adam Smith

Hierarchy of automation

Michael Roberts discusses Daron Acemoglu’s warning that artificial intelligence will be used to flatten living standards and increase capital’s profitability

Rates up, economy down

Claims by bankers that, by upping interest rates, inflation will be pulled down are fallacious. Michael Roberts presents a Marxist explanation

Recipe for conflict

Michael Roberts examines the continued role of the dollar, despite the hype about US decline and a multipolar world economy

Still far from human

The widespread introduction of AI is unlikely to boost profit rates and rescue capitalism from its long depression. Michael Roberts explains

Contradictions of capital itself

Michael Roberts reviews Marx in the Anthropocene: towards the idea of degrowth communism by Kohei Saito (Cambridge University Press, 2022, pp300)

No wage-price spiral

Michael Roberts investigates the old myth that wages drive inflation and rejects calls from governments, bankers and employers for workers to exercise pay restraint

Tottering towards 2024

Despite the economy ranking as the number one issue for US voters, the expected red wave failed to materialise. Michael Roberts examines the facts and figures

Cold war set to heat up

Michael Roberts expects a turn to self-reliance, urges less reliance on the capitalist sector and calls for democratic planning

Measure for measure

Michael Roberts looks at the appalling life expectancy and human development figures in the 21st century

Energy as a weapon

Michael Roberts looks at the fallout from the Ukraine war and how plans for an oil cap could trigger a deep recession

Flippy and ghost work

Automation sees low-skilled workers replaced, but there are many unintended consequences. Only the replacement of the profit motive would allow automation to deliver real human benefits, argues Michael Roberts

Working long and hard

David Graeber’s bullshit jobs thesis is plain wrong. Capitalist social relations are driving up hours and ruining people’s health, writes Michael Roberts

Scissor blades closing

Prices soaring, real wages falling and a new slump very much on the cards. Michael Roberts looks at the prospects for the world economy

Running out of luck

The new Labor government is committed, like its predecessor, to the US alliance and disengaging with China. Meanwhile, real wages fall, inflation increases and climate change brings floods, fires and droughts. Michael Roberts looks at a country facing troubled times

Crypto unTethered

Speculation is inherent in capitalism, writes Michael Roberts. That is why we have seen the appearance of cryptocurrencies

A new Marshall plan?

The US and its allies see the war as a heaven-sent opportunity to weaken Russia, writes Michael Roberts. Next will come China - and the working class will pay the price

Split three ways

Low growth and high unemployment will continue, not go away. Michael Roberts looks at the world’s fifth largest economy following the presidential election

Alternative to ‘restraint’

Neither establishment explanation for the cause of inflation is valid, argues Michael Roberts

Third great depression

Not only are economic contradictions at play. There is the ecological crisis and, of course, war. Michael Roberts says that only socialism can save humanity

From sanctions to slump?

Michael Roberts looks at the dreadful consequences of the economic war being waged against Russia

Destroyed by economygate?

After the “longest wage squeeze in 200 years”, workers in Britain face an unprecedented fall in living standards. Michael Roberts rejects the Bank of England’s call to “moderate” wage rises

Austerity socialists win

The victorious Socialist Party is putting all its hopes in the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Plan, says Michael Roberts, and has no intention of ending the country’s dependence on French and German capital. Not surprisingly the left coalition partners were hammered

A world of declining profit

Michael Roberts reviews new empirical evidence vindicating Marx’s law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, which underpins capitalism’s inherent tendency to crises

Contradictions and ambiguities

Market socialism, capitalism with Chinese characteristics, or a workers’ state? Michael Roberts takes issue with three recent books

Don’t expect a roaring 20s

Globally the economy is still living in the shadow of the pandemic and investment in productive capital remains extraordinarily low, says Michael Roberts

Socialism, shortages and surrender

Not so masterly: Michael Roberts questions the much feted ideas of János Kornai

They will not deliver

Market solutions are no solution. Michael Roberts castigates the sham, the hollowness of climate finance

Marxist monetary theory

It is profit, not government spending, that drives capitalist investment, writes Michael Roberts

Profits first and foremost

What causes slumps? Michael Roberts takes issue with those who imagine individual decisions and interest rates are key

Leopard and its spots

With or without monopolies, the basis of capitalist exploitation remains the same, argues Michael Roberts

Threat of a new slump

There has been much exaggerated talk of the dangers of inflation. But, if interest rates rise, Michael Roberts sees the zombie corporations getting into real trouble

Another Venezuela?

Ruling class fears about the new Peruvian president are very likely misplaced, writes Michael Roberts

Decline in profitability

Capitalism’s productivity failure can best be explained by Marxist theory, writes Michael Roberts

Inflation and financial risk

Covid-19 has blown a big hole in the theories of mainstream economists, Michael Roberts explains

Coefficients and inequalities

The distribution of income reveals marked differences, but, as shown by Michael Roberts, it is wealth that is the real give-away

New financial fictions

Michael Roberts spotlights the latest ways capitalists have come up with to cheat and swindle

Financial fictions

What Marx described as the ‘purest and most colossal form of gambling and swindling’ continues today, but on an altogether bigger scale Michael Roberts looks at some recent examples

Capitalism and labour productivity

Even non-Marxists have to admit that Marx was right. Michael Roberts looks at a newly published paper

In thunder and lightning

Michael Roberts celebrates Rosa Luxemburg’s outstanding contribution to Marxist political economy

Mission impossible

Michael Roberts reviews 'Mission economy: a moonshot guide to changing capitalism' by Mariana Mazzucato

Problem is capitalism

Michael Roberts asks what we should now expect: deflation, inflation or stagflation?

Dilemmas of great and good

Mainstream economists cannot provide the answers needed to revive a system mired in stagnation. Michael Roberts reports on the annual gathering of the American Economic Association

Friedman doctrine in 21st century

Monopolies are rule-makers and rule-breakers, but attempts to ensure free competition are utopian in the extreme, says Michael Roberts

Calling the shots

How was Covid-19 vaccine developed with such tremendous speed? Michael Roberts looks at the key role of the state

Bidenomics: boom or bust?

What will a Democrat victory mean for the US economy? Michael Roberts sees little room for optimism

Waste, destruction and misery

Michael Roberts reviews Hadas Thier's 'A people’s guide to capitalism'

Disasters at a double rate

While the global institutions are offering pseudo-solutions aplenty, the tipping point is fast approaching, warns Michael Roberts

A return to Keynes?

Michael Roberts takes apart the United Nations ‘solution’ to end the Covid-19 pandemic slump

Underlying weaknesses exposed

The government’s wish for a V-shaped recovery is doomed to failure, writes Michael Roberts

Global savings glut?

Michael Roberts reviews Matthew Klein and Michael Pettis’s 'Trade wars are class wars'

It’s not just Trump

What are the prospects for China in the post-pandemic 2020s? Michael Roberts examines the factors behind a changing imperialist strategy

Prepare for the scarring

After the lockdown ends we should expect the worst, warns Michael Roberts

Euro’s corona crisis

Covid-19 has brought EU contradictions to the fore, argues Michael Roberts

Nature and humanity

Did Engels really seek to water down Marx’s concern for the environment? Quite the opposite, argues Michael Roberts

A war economy?

What the pandemic has demonstrated, writes Michael Roberts, is that in a crisis the capitalist state has no alternative but to suppress the ‘free market’

The Engels pause

As we approach the 200th anniversary of Friedrich Engels’ birth, Michael Roberts< recalls the contribution he made to Marxist political economy.

Coronavirus and the G20

Global capital is at a loss on how to prevent another slump, argues Michael Roberts.

The wealth of nations

Michael Roberts examines the controversies about using gross domestic product as a measure.

From socialism to ‘stabilising finance’

Hyman Minsky acted as a forerunner for protagonists of today’s ‘modern monetary theory’, writes Michael Roberts.

Land and the rentier economy

Brett Christophers The new enclosure: the appropriation of public land in neoliberal Britain Verso 2018, pp384, £20

Fixing the plumbing

You will get nowhere if you do not understand the capitalist mode of production, says Michael Roberts.

Marx’s double-edge law

Despite the arguments of David Harvey, writes Michael Roberts Marx’s law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall is fundamental in understanding capitalist crises.

‘Correcting’ capitalist inequality

Keynesian proposals for ‘tax justice’ are not the answer, writes Michael Roberts.

Global and national inequalities

The global proletariat is continuing to grow and capitalism is mired in stagnation, writes Michael Roberts.

Intangible, but not immaterial

The law of value is fully applicable to the commodification of knowledge, argues Michael Roberts.

A rent-seeking economy?

The problem lies not in ‘financialisation’, argues Michael Roberts, but in the system of capital itself.

World’s scariest economist?

She advises Labour, Democratic Party hopefuls and the Scottish first minister. Michael Roberts critiques the ideas of Mariana Mazzucato.

Profits on the fall

The US officially admits its figures for the last three years were wrong. Michael Roberts comments on the revisions.

Completing the vicious circle

Michael Roberts recalls the disastrous policies of the Syriza government

G20 and trade war

Osaka saw a truce between the US and China. But the trade war will break out again. This is a struggle for global supremacy and, reckons Michael Roberts, the odds are that China will win

The heroes of finance

Despite the efforts of central banks the risk of a new global recession continues to rise, argues Michael Roberts

Trade and technology trigger

Michael Roberts warns that the US-China trade war brings with it the threat of another global downturn

Inequality soars worldwide

While the rich have never had it so good, writes Michael Roberts, the risks are increasing

Dashing of a dream

Michael Roberts provides the political and economic background to the general election in South Africa

Not an oxymoron?

Can there be a return to ‘progressive capitalism’? Don’t hold your breath, says Michael Roberts

A delicate moment

Capital’s major financial institutions are warning of the likelihood of another global recession, notes Michael Roberts

Growth across the world slows further and further

Despite predictions to the contrary, says Michael Roberts, the long depression is still very much with us

Chartalism and Marxism

Proponents of ‘modern monetary theory’ serve to mislead and divert the labour movement, argues Michael Roberts

Will the euro survive?

Michael Roberts looks back at the last 20 years and predicts a rocky future

Supply and demand quandary

Both neoclassical and Keynesian economics have got it wrong, writes Michael Roberts

Trade, tariffs and financial stability

According to the Federal Reserve, writes Michael Roberts, the risk of another recession is no longer ‘negligible’

Marx’s formulae confirmed

Michael Roberts looks at the latest figures on the US rate of profit

Capitalism is the cause of, not the solution to runaway climate change

The system cannot be managed more efficiently to halt global warming, argues Michael Roberts

Regulation does not work

We need ownership and control of the banks, argues Michael Roberts

More momentum on the banks

Real measures to control finance are needed, argues Michael Roberts

Keynesianism is no alternative

Michael Roberts reports on the range of illusions on display at a recent international conference

Rethinking economics

Attempts to broaden debate in university economics departments should be applauded, writes Michael Roberts

World trade and imperialism

US hegemony is under threat from China, Russia and India, writes Michael Roberts

The Keynesian dilemma

Will it be free trade or protectionism? Michael Roberts examines the contending views

A $1 trillion trade war

Michael Roberts looks at the likely end result of Trump’s new tariffs

Vulnerable to a major slump

The consolidation of Erdoğan’s rule and the intensification of repression cannot prevent the impending economic crisis, writes Michael Roberts

Capitalism and sovereign money

Financial crises cannot be avoided simply through bypassing the commercial banks, argues Michael Roberts

When will the crunch come?

Capital is facing a global debt crisis, warns Michael Roberts

Push them to the left

According to a new book, today it is the managers, not the capitalists, who rule. Michael Roberts begs to differ

Trump, trade and the tech war

With globalisation and growth on pause for a decade, Trump’s trade wars aim to keep the biggest US hi-tech and intellectual property companies on top, argues Michael Roberts

Chinese bank's alternative to Marxism

Is ‘trading economics’ China’s new ‘ideologically acceptable’ theory of capitalism? Michael Roberts looks at the thoughts of a major figure in the People’s Bank of China

Davos and the Donald

Trump’s appearance saw him demand a change in the rules, says Michael Roberts

‘Dead end’ of privatisation

The collapse of Carillion blows apart a key myth, argues Michael Roberts

Cryptocurrency craze

Does bitcoin open the way to a world free from the control of global authorities? No chance, argues Michael Roberts

Hire and fire as they please

With union combativity languishing, writes Michael Roberts, real wages continue to fall despite full employment

Ten years later

What has the bourgeoisie learnt from the 2007-08 crash? Not a great deal, writes Michael Roberts

The walking dead

The G20 only confirmed the sluggish nature of the global economy, writes Michael Roberts

Capital in disarray

The UK economy is set to enter a period of recession, argues Michael Roberts

Keynes or Marx?

What is capital’s driving force? Michael Roberts explores the profit-investment nexus

A story of isolation

Unification under capitalism can only but perpetuate inequality, writes Michael Roberts

Civilisation and the ‘long run’

Will the Keynesian radicals become mainstream conservatives when the long depression ends? It is capitalism itself that is the problem, argues Michael Roberts

Creating a level playing field

How is the law used to protect the interests of capital? Michael Roberts discusses the tension between competition and monopoly

Inequality reaches new high

Marx’s prediction 150 years ago that capitalism would lead to greater concentration of wealth has been borne out, writes Michael Roberts

Capital’s wishful thinking

Sections of the ruling class are now optimistic that Donald Trump will implement pro-business measures. But will they work? Michael Roberts analyses the likely impact of ‘Trumponomics’

Rate of profit continues to fall

Michael Roberts looks at the US data from 1948 to 2015

Turbulence ahead

All the indications are that the global economy is heading for big trouble, writes Michael Roberts

Still stuck in the Jackson Hole

It is profits that matter and investment that decides, writes Michael Roberts

Brexit, TTIP and TPP

Michael Roberts examines a possible effect of a British withdrawal from the European Union

Brexit, China and the Fed

The prospect of a global recession is very real, writes Michael Roberts

Not so new economics

Michael Roberts reports on John McDonnell’s plan to ‘transform capitalism’

Consistent, realistic, verifiable

Michael Roberts reviews: Fred Moseley, 'Money and totality', Brill, 2016, pp436, £102

Close down offshore

Transnational companies and the super-rich routinely get away with not paying taxes. But, writes Michael Roberts, something can be done about it

North and south

What is the nature of modern imperialism, asks Michael Roberts, one hundred years after Lenin?

Robots and capitalism

Can new technology and artificial intelligence open up a new period of expansion for capital? Michael Roberts examines the possibilities and problems

Scams we are still paying for

Michael Roberts reviews: Adam McKay (director/co-writer) The big short 2015, general release

The impending global recession

Blaming China is a diversion, argues Michael Roberts. The USA is still key

Good for the working class?

Michael Roberts examines the inadequacies of Corbynomics

Will the euro survive?

All bets are off, writes Michael Roberts. This article is based on his presentation to the CPGB’s Communist University in August

Is it all over?

Michael Roberts looks at the implications of China’s stock market collapse

Heading for a crash?

Michael Roberts comments on the speculation surrounding China’s latest growth figures

Close down financial casinos

Flash crashes, high-frequency trading and chicanery - ‘spoofing’ is just a symptom, writes Michael Roberts

The lucky generation and the historic limits of capital

Optimism amongst mainstream economists is clearly misplaced, argues Michael Roberts

The spectre of deflation

Will falling prices help stimulate the economy? Michael Roberts argues that, on the contrary, profits will be squeezed

Agony and the ecstasy

The current growth of the UK economy is unsustainable, says Michael Roberts. Indeed, there is a danger of another slump

The current long depression and its nature

Economic slumps are usually preceded by a decline in profits, writes Michael Roberts. This article is based on a presentation made to the CPGB’s Communist University in August 2014

Unpicking Piketty

Thomas Piketty Capital in the 21st century Harvard 2014, pp677, £29.95