Growth and distribution: a revised classical model


ABSTRACT This paper discusses distribution and the historical phases of capitalism. It assumes that technical progress and growth are taking place, and, given that, its question is on the functional distribution of income between labor and capital, having as reference classical theory of distribution and Marx’s falling tendency of the rate of profit. Based on the historical experience, it, first, inverts the model, making the rate of profit as the constant variable in the long run and the wage rate, as the residuum; second, it distinguishes three types of technical progress (capital-saving, neutral and capital-using) and applies it to the history of capitalism, having the UK and France as reference. Given these three types of technical progress, it distinguishes five phases of capitalist growth, where only the second is consistent with Marx prediction. In the final phase, corresponding to financier-rentier capitalism and neoliberalism, the profit rate recovered from the fall of the 1970s, while wages have been growing below the growth of productivity.