...if we don’t define what capitalism is then what does it means to be ”anti-capitalist”? Don’t we first have to know what something is to know what it is we’re against? Otherwise, how can we ever know if the movement we’re building is based on strategies, tactics, issues and demands that, even if successful, will actually move us beyond capitalism instead of once again simply reinforcing its rule?
In this course we will be concerned with some of the main ideas of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, focusing on the materialist understanding of history, and the theory of surplus value.
CAPITAL is the indispensable sourcebook on Marx’s method for analyzing the economy, politics and struggles. Many of us have less time to study it because, as Marx predicted, we have to work longer hours— and often more than one job—in order to survive. Fortunately, even a basic familiarity with the key concepts of Volume I offers many tools for understanding capitalism’s dynamics.
Correcting a longstanding misinterpretation, Moseley argues that there is no ‘transformation problem’ in Marx’s economic theory.
Marx viewed all his economic laws as tendencies and it is hard to deny that those tendencies are becoming more and more the realities of today’s capitalism. However, to understand our society we need to do more than reading and accepting his concepts, we must critically analyze them and look for the way of thinking that produced them.
It is often said that Capital, Volume I is concerned with the enfoldment of the capital form, with many dialectical twists and turns, but not with revolution. However, such a picture severs Marx the revolutionary from Marx the social theorist. In fact, Capital I can be connected to five different notions of revolution.
From the book: “...a potential tendency for capital in searching to maximise its monetary profit to be drawn to invest in areas that produce no value or surplus value at all. Taken to extremes, either of these tendencies [the first being the problem of technology reducing value creation] could be fatal to the reproduction of capital. In combination, and the contemporary evidence is that both trends are discernible, they could be catastrophic” (Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason, David Harvey, Oxford University Press, p.105).
This reading group will undertake a close reading (over 10 weeks) of Costas Lapavitsas and Makoto Itoh’s book Political Economy of Money and Finance. The book attempts to offer a systematic theoretical examination of money and finance by re-examining the classical foundations of political economy and the creator of money and assessing all of the important theoretical schools since then, including Marxist, Keynesian, post-Keynesian and monetarist thinkers.
By unraveling the commoditized forms of our interactions with nature and each other, it provides tools to understand capitalism’s astounding innovativeness and productivity, intertwined with growing inequality and misery, alienation, stunting of human potential, and ecological destruction all over the globe. In this way, Capital offers the reader a methodology for doing our own analysis of current developments.