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Value and Crisis: Essays on Marxian Economics in Japan, second edition


Marxist economic thought has had a long and distinguished history in Japan, dating back to the First World War. When interest in Marxist theory was virtually nonexistent in the United States, rival schools of thought in Japan emerged, and brilliant debates took place on Marx’s Capital and on capitalism as it was developing in Japan. Forty years ago, Makoto Itoh’s Value and Crisis began to chronicle these Japanese contributions to Marxist theory, discussing in particular views on Marx’s theories of value and crisis, and problems of Marx’s theory of market value. Now, in a second edition of his book, Itoh deepens his study of Marx’s theories of value and crisis, as an essential reference point from which to analyze the multiple crises that have arisen during the past four decades of neoliberalism.

One contribution of the original Value and Crisis was to bridge Japan and the world in the field of Marxian political economy. Itoh’s second edition demonstrates an even wider-ranging familiarity with major schools of Marxist thought, summarizing and assessing viewpoints of such theorists as Hilferding, Bauer, Kautsky, Bukharin, Luxemburg, Grossman, Sweezy, the Japanese Marxist Kozo Uno, together with the relevant parts of Capital and a section on the 1930’s Great Depression. Given today’s current emergencies of world capitalism and socialism, says Itoh, we need to work together to resolve new global problems, articulating new issues of Marx’s theories of value and crisis. The promise of Marx’s theories has not waned. If anything—given the failure of Soviet-style socialism and the catastrophe of neoliberalism—it grows daily.

This is one of the most important books in Marxist political economy of the last several decades. With exemplary clarity, Makoto Itoh has built a bridge between the Uno tradition of Japan and the Marxism of Europe and the USA. Fresh material on crisis and the transformation of contemporary capitalism ensure that this new edition will be vital to Marxism in years to come.

—Costas Lapavitsas, Professor of Economics at SOAS, University of London; author, The Left Case Against the EU and Profiting Without Producing

Forty years ago, when the first edition of this book was published, it played a significant part in my own political-economic education. The second edition, now expanded by about forty percent, has proven to be no less revelatory. Not only do the new chapters provide a window into the present global crisis of neolibralism, but the older chapters can be seen to be prescient when placed in the context of the present revolution in Marxian value theory. Everyone interested in questions of value theory and crisis will find this to be a deeply informative and stimulating book by one of the great Japanese Marxist economists of the last half century.

—John Bellamy Foster, author, The Theory of Monopoly Capitalism: An Elaboration of Marxian Political Economy

This newly updated and expanded second edition of economist and academician Makoto Itoh’s ground breaking volume is a critically important and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Marxian Economics collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Midwest Book Review

Makoto Itoh is Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo and a member of the Japan Academy. He taught at the New School, New York University, Harvard University, Cambridge University, the University of London, York University in Canada, and University of Sydney. His books include The Basic Theory of Capitalism, The World Economic Crisis and Japanese Capitalism, Political Economy for Socialism, Political Economy of Money and Finance, and The Japanese Economy Reconsidered.

Publication Date: December 2020

Edition: 2nd

Number of Pages: 296

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-58367-898-5

Cloth ISBN: 978-1-58367-899-2

eBook ISBN: 978-1-58367-900-5