Latest articles by Michael Roberts
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Thomas Piketty Capital in the 21st century Harvard 2014, pp677, £29.95