[Marxism] political economy-- errata

S. Artesian sartesian at earthlink.net
Sun Sep 20 15:34:18 MDT 2009

That address is the only place that I know where Marx uses the term.  In the 
same address he give another example of this "political economy,"  in the 
'demonstration value' of the cooperative organizations.

I think it's safe to say Marx was not arguing for the development of an 
alternate political economy along the lines of the Ten Hours Bill, or 
cooperatives, as a viable path to socialism.

>From the rest of Marx's work, I think it is more than safe, but accurate, to 
say Marx proposes no "alternative,"  "radical" political economy,  but its 

If I might ask the list's indulgence, let me provide a characterization of 
"political economic" vs. "social" from the history of the development of 
capitalism which might demonstrate that the difference is more than 
semantic, more than minor .  I am referring to the difference between the 
"levellers" and the "diggers" up to, during, and after, the English 
Revolution and the ascent of Cromwell.

The levellers, for all their radicalism, supported, defended private 
property-- believing in a political equality, a formal equality, where "each 
man can enjoy his own property."

The diggers believed that private property was, or would become, by 
necessity unequal, and the formal liberty, equality, and freedom established 
by the revolution would be undermined and destroyed by the political economy 
of private property.  The diggers proposed, and enacted, not just use of 
"the commons" by private property owners large or small, but the abolition 
of private property and thus conversion of the commons to a communism.

The levellers were communists-- agrarian, idealistic, utopian to be sure, 
but communists.  The diggers were "radical" political economists, so to 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mehmet Cagatay" <mehmetcagatayaydin at yahoo.com>
To: "David Schanoes" <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 4:08 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] political economy-- 

michael a. lebowitz wrote:

"the political economy of the working class" [of which Marx spoke favourably


Mr. Lebowitz is obviously referring to Marx's Inaugural Address for the 
International Working Men's Association. In his talk, Marx employs the 
phrase "the political economy of the working class" just to signify the 
particular gains of labor, of socialist politics (social production 
controlled by social foresight), against capital, and its political economy 
based on the laws of supply and demand. I have no idea if Marx ever 
mentioned elsewhere "the political economy of labor" as a distinctive 
theoretical discipline peculiar to working class. I would be appreciated if 
Mr. Lebowitz conveys us some other instances where Marx elaborates his 
thoughts on the subject.


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