[Marxism] Reading 'Capital'

Shane Hopkinson swhopkinson at gmail.com
Fri Jan 31 06:07:47 MST 2014


A few of my students and I have begun reading 'Capital' using David
Harvey's lectures as a guide. Its been interesting, We read Part 8 On
Primitive Accumulation first and are now up to Chapter 9. Of course just
about every aspect of this text seems to have some debate or other centred
on it.

What I was wondering though was about Marx's method (yes I know - bear with
me). Clearly whatever else is going on Marx is engaging with the best
economists of his day and seeking to critique them. While there are a few
asides to marginalist or subjectivist economics that is now the dominant
school we guess that Marx would have spent more time critiquing them if he
knew they would become dominant. Probably.

So I wanted to take the question the next step. If Marx were writing
'Capital' today where would he have started? Since modern economics doesn't
use the terminology that he takes for granted then what would he say about
modern economics and how would he have structured his critique around it.

While Marx can be very sarcastic with vulgar economists there are those
that take he takes seriously as scientists (like Smith and Ricardo). When
he thinks they are wrong he tries to show both why they are wrong and the
way that their errors are a product of the social system of which they are
a part.

I know there are Marxist critiques of modern economics (or rather Marxism
is seen as the alternative to it) but has anyone thought or written about
modern, marginalist economics in the way Marx writes about the classical
economists ie demonstrating why they are right and how this and their
errors teach us about the social relations we are all part of.



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