If capitalism has been in a serious crisis for 5 years, why hasn't this affected 'corporate' profits?
You have stated on your show that to speak about the current crisis as a 'financial' one is incorrect, and that this is a crisis affecting capitalism in its entirety. But while the banks are in serious trouble, with the largest seeing falling profits, "corporate" profits have seen record highs for the last three years. AP recently reported that this is unlikely to continue. Is this sustainable or do you see a turn in the future, and what how does all this relate to the Marxist argument that there is always a tendency for the rate of profit to fall?
Regarding corporate profits, they have done well during the crisis since 2007-2008 for several reasons: (1) because of previous investments in computer technologies, etc. productivity (output contributed per worker) has kept rising while real wages (what is paid to workers) has either fallen or been stagnant; (2) corporations reduced their workforces while pressuring the worker who remained to compensate by doing some of the work of those laid-off for no more pay (those who remained feared being laid off and thus did the extra work); (3) government stimulus money paid to major corporations was supposed to "trickle down" to everyone else but never did so (it went instead to fatten corporate bottom lines instead), (4) as the purchasing capacity of US citizens fell (because of 1 and 2 above), US corporations have increasingly shifted their focus toward other, more profitable markets (Europe, Asia, etc.) and done reasonably well until 2012 when the declines in those areas ended that.
For the above reasons, corporate profits went up as labor's position deteriorated, but the latter always eventually undermines the former. That historical lesson was poorly learned (when learned at all) by the devotees of capitalism and of "repairing" capitalist crashes by focusing on the top and counting on "trickle down" economics.
Regarding the argument of Marx about the "tendency for the rate of profit to fall" (TRPF) - in his Capital, Vol 3, Chapters 13-15, as I recall - Marx shows that this tendency is just that: something that "tends" to happen unless and until contradictions with that tendency and/or "counteracting tendencies" undermine the TRPF.
Items (1) through (4) above represent some of the contradictions and counteracting tendencies that transformed the TRPF into a short period when profits instead rose. As the European crisis persists and draws the already crisis-weakened world economy back down into broad decline - after an incomplete and weak recovery for a few months before April, 2012 - the TRPF reasserts itself.
The subtelty of Marx's arguments is lost if readers transform what he calls a "tendency" into some absolute that must always occur. Those chapters in Capital, Vol 3 are entitled tendency, contradictions in the tendency and counteracting tendencies precisely to avoid the interpretation that Marx was describing something that would always occur.