The Elgar Companion to Marxist Economics
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This Companion takes stock of the trajectory, achievements, shortcomings and prospects of Marxist political economy. It reflects the contributors' shared commitment to bringing the methods, theories and concepts of Marx himself to bear across a wide range of topics and perspectives, and it provides a testimony to the continuing purpose and vitality of Marxist political economy.
As a whole, this volume analyzes Marxist political economy in three areas: the critique of mainstream economics in all of its versions; the critical presence of Marxist political economy within, and its influence upon, each of the social science disciplines; and, cutting across these, the analysis of specific topics that straddle disciplinary boundaries. Some of the contributions offer an exposition of basic concepts, accessible to the general reader, laying out Marx's own contribution, its significance, and subsequent positions and debates with and within Marxist political economy. The authors offer assessments of historical developments to and within capitalism, and of its current character and prospects. Other chapters adopt a mirror-image approach of pinpointing the conditions of contemporary capitalism as a way of interrogating the continuing salience of Marxist analysis.
This volume will inform and inspire a new generation of students and scholars to become familiar with Marxist political economy from an enlightened and unprejudiced position, and to use their knowledge as both a resource and gateway to future study.
Contributors: G. Albo, R. Albritton, D. Ankarloo, S. Ashman, A.J. Ayers, R. Balakrishnan, J. Banaji, S. Bisnath, M. Boffo, T.J. Byres, A. Campbell, P. Cerni, P. Chattopadhyay, S. Clarke, A. Colás, G.C. Comninel, M. Di Meglio, P.L. dos Santos, G. Duménil, B. Fine, J. Ghosh, G.H. Gimm, H. Goodacre, B. Gruffydd Jones, B. Harriss-White, K. Hart, M. Itoh, H. Jeon, B. Jessop, D. Johnston, R. Kiely, S. Knafo, D. Laibman, D. Lévy, D. Lo, T. Marois, P. Masina, S.D. Mavroudeas, D. Milonakis, S. Mohun, S. Newman, P. Patnaik, U. Patnaik, L. Pradella, H. Radice, A. Saad-Filho, S. Savran, G. Slater, T. Smith, E. Swyngedouw, B. Tinel, A. Toscano, J. Weeks, E.M. Wood, A. Zack-Williams, P. Zarembka, Y. Zhang
industry created the proletariat and raised the ‘elect of the middle-class to the throne, but only to overthrow them’ (‘The industrial proletariat’). Engels notes the tendency towards the centralization of ownership in industry ruining the small bourgeoisie. In this society, there is ‘war of each against all’ (‘The great towns’). Under the prevailing conditions of unregulated production and distribution of the means of life, the whole process could collapse at any moment as part of a more general
defence of AM’s methodological stance and of its strategic political usefulness, Carling (1990, p. 107) argues that ‘a precedent for such a use of bourgeois theory, which should occur rather quickly to a Marxist’, is to be found in Marx himself. Adopting the method of contemporary economics would thus be faithful to the spirit deployed by Marx in Capital, that of subverting classical political economy, the mainstream of his day, using it against itself to draw anti-capitalist conclusions. But
the possession of his means of production; a process that transforms, on the one hand, the social means of subsistence and of production into capital, on the other, the immediate producers into wage labourers. The so-called primitive accumulation, therefore, is nothing else than the historical process of divorcing the producer from the means of production. It appears as primitive, because it forms the prehistoric stage of capital and of the mode of production corresponding with it. The
the inputs. According to Marx, ‘as the form of profit hides its inner core, capital more and more acquires a material form, is transformed more and more from a relationship into a thing, but a thing which embodies, which has absorbed, the social relationship, a thing which has acquired a fictitious life and independent existence in relation to itself, a natural-supernatural entity’ (Theories of Surplus Value, Addenda to Part III). A natural-supernatural entity is precisely what a fetish is.
Marxism had a catastrophist theory of breakdown. M2834 – FINE TEXT.indd 92 19/12/2011 08:38 Crisis theory 93 The most vigorous response to Bernstein came from Rosa Luxemburg, who did espouse a catastrophist theory and insisted that ‘the theory of capitalist breakdown . . . is the cornerstone of scientific socialism’ (Howard, 1971, p. 123). Against Bernstein, Luxemburg insisted that credit exacerbates the tendency to overproduction and so merely postpones the inevitable crisis at the cost of