Marxist Political Economy We have two primary goals to achieve with this course. If not before, at least by Week 10 and certainly by Week 11 of this course, enrolled students would have raised their levels of knowledge of Karl Marx and appreciate him as a man living out his life during the 19thcentury. In addition to understanding Marx as a person, enrolled students would gain deep-seated knowledge of his diverse and rich contributions to Classical Political Economy. We shall also consider writings of some of those who built on his contributions, people often labeled as ‘Marxists’ who advance ‘Marxian Theory’. The second goal that registers as equally important: if not before Week 11 of this course, enrolled students would have raised their proficiencies for relying upon historical texts, absorbing and thinking through high-level ideas, and then writing up their own ideas artfully and in a manner that makes use of a system of citation emphasized in this course.Please be aware our course’s two main goals. If you are not in agreement with these goals, you might consider taking a different course.If you are still in, then please consider that our course is structured to assist you as the enrolled student, in achieving these two stated goals. If you would like to achieve other goals you should consider achieving them too. If you need assistance from me, please show up to speak with me during office my hours.This course is designed to familiarize students with the indomitable and unconquerable Karl Marx, with an exposure to a portion of the body of social and economic thought he advanced, and that was later carried further by some of his best disciples.
If you would like to see further by standing on the shoulders of a giant, and from this vantage point to view the world as a social scientist, I do not think you could ever find a giant with higher shoulders than Karl Marx. By all measures Karl Marx was a man of the 19th century. He was born in 1818 and towards the end of a bucolic era in what was still a traditional and quaint European world. Over his lifetime his society would be torn asunder by industrialization and urbanization of rural populations on a grandiose scale never before seen and experienced. Marx and a few others of his generation thought up alternatives. Marx arrived in the world in the old Roman colonial city of Trier, located near today’s western border of Germany proximate Belgium.
Marx died just more than sixty years later – while in exile in London. When Marx died the western world had fully mastered industrial production – and with its mastery – clearly dominated those not successfully industrializing with various forms of prowess, including military. At the time of Marx’s death in 1883 the capitalist system – whose laws of motion and inner workings he sought to explain – was noted for achieving hitherto unknown levels of material abundance. In addition, his epoch of laissez-faire meant a free running capitalist system riding roughshod over what had been long standing traditions of a bucolic, feudal past that had offered social stability. Marx offered ideas on how to deal with this difficult transition into modernity.Marx’s contribution is based on his painstaking inquiry into the “laws of motion” of the capitalistic system. Clearly, his works were read and appreciated during his lifetime. However after his death in London in 1883, his ideas proved too powerful to be contained. By the second decade of the 20th century Marx’s key ideas were already generating determining effects on the course of world history and emerged as full-blown movements at the end of World War One. By 1950, about one third of the world’s population lived under economies that relied upon economic planning for resource allocation. These were economic systems – that in several respects – were inspired by Karl Marx. At the start of the 21stcentury – and if we include the 1.3 billion in today’s China – then transitions away from planned economies are currently affecting about one third of the world’s population. With all of the turbulence his ideas have generated, and with these ideas affecting the fates of so many millions of people as well as the course of history, I think it behooves us to take some time to gain a substantial background in Marx’s contributions to social science thinking, in general, and to economic science, in particular. Mark Blaug (1988, 156) emphasizes that Marx generated about 10,000 pages dealing with Political Economy. Clearly, economists can claim Marx as one of our own. But so can philosophers, sociologists, political scientists, and post-modern thinkers advancing ideas in selected disciplines. Karl Marx could claim widespread name recognition, for his name is lionized by many and vilified by many more. Few educated people in the world today could claim ignorance of his name. However, with so much name recognition, but a few people have actually devoted time towards reading and assessing Marx’s contributions to social and economic thought. The purpose of this course, then, is to have students devote earnest attention towards reading and considering Marx’s ideas in their translations to English. Please take account of the system for calculating your EC345 final grade.All students start at zero but can take advantage of what we using academic “new speak” pass off as Learning Opportunities. Lectures will be presented over ten weeks. Learning Opportunity #1 (like a midterm) could count for as many as 50 points Learning Opportunities #2 involves writing the first draft of an inquiry (term paper) that runs about 2,850 words of text. This could count for as much as 25 points. Fulfilling Learning Opportunity #3 involves refining and handing in a polished second and final draft of your inquiry, and that could count for as much as 25 additional points, with the three assignments potentially yielding a whopping 100 points and a super strong “A”.Please keep in mind that failure to turn in or perform any of the assignments on time would result in Zero (0) points for that assignment. Papers turned in late can be docked five points for every twenty-four hour period after the assignment is due. When the course ends in June, grades will be calculated and turned in on time. One’s final grade would be based upon the accumulated points set against the standard PSU grading scale. I do not plan to offer incomplete or “I” grades, so best to stay on task.Dates to consider remembering: Tuesday, 28 April 2016, Learning Opportunity #1 due by 5pm Tuesday, 19 May 2016, Learning Opportunity #2 due by 5pm Thursday, 11 June 2016, Learning Opportunity #3 due by 5pm. Topic: Marx, the Man: Some Biographical NotesWeek 1
Berlin, Isaiah. Karl Marx, His Life and Environment (or, any edition) Oxford University Press, First published in 1939. Read “Intro.” plus Chapters 1-5. “Childhood and Adolescence” to “Paris” Plus Chapter 8
“Exile in London: The First Phase”And Ch. 11 “Last Years”Also take in the research paper by Thomas Howell, found at our google reading site. sites.google.com/site/econreadings45/ and the book by Paul Schafer, The First Writings of Karl Marx. New York: Ig Press, 2006. Marx’s doctoral dissertation compares the Epicurean and Democritus views of nature, in general, and the atom, in particular. In order to understand Marx’s touchy relationships with the faith of his family, you might read Marx’s “Zur Judenfrage” (“On The Jewish Question”) published in Paris in 1844.
For the other side, you could consider an optional reading from Paul Johnson’s A History of the Jews, 1987. In this book Johnson asserts Marx’s connections to the Judaic realm. Pp. 346-355. Thursday“Marx, the Philosopher:” Meet Georg Friedrich Hegel: Marx’s Philosophical InspirationTopic: The Dialectic
G.F. Hegel Philosophy of Right (see google readings) Marx’s “turning of Hegel on his head” “Dialectical Materialism as a Philosophical View” “Dialectial Materialism” “Please read The German Ideology, co-authored by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels Ch. 1 “Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook” parts A “Idealism and Materialism” and B “The Illusion of the Epoch”Other views on the Dialectic (optional readings) Frederick Engels, The Dialectics of Nature.Week 2Topic “Marx, the Economist”Now we starting reading through the translation of Das Kapital, Bande I, Noted in English as: Capital: A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production, Vol. I Part I, “Commodities and Money” Chapters I, II, IIIWeek 3
Part II, The Transformation of Money into Capital, Chapters IV, V, VIPart III The Production of Absolute Surplus Value, Chapters VII to XIWeek 4
Marx, the TheoristPart IV Production of Relative Surplus Value, Chapters XII to XVPart V“The Production of Absolute and of Relative Surplus-Value”Chapters XVI to XVIIIWeek 5Part VI
“Wages” Chapters XIX to XXIILearning Opportunity #1 Due Tuesday, 28 April before class at 12 noon. Please slide your exam under my office door at CH241P. ———————————————————————————————–Week 6 Marx’s Foundational Thinking in Economic DevelopmentFor this week we shall consider Marx’s neglected classic: Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations. I shall discourage reading the long intro from E. Hobsbawm and instead to concentrate on Marx’s ideas in the original. Pp. 67-120Then we shall consider how these ideas on the unevencharacter of capitalist accumulation and capitalist development provide foundation for what can be thought of as the school dealing with “World Systems.” Clearly, we could consider writings of Immanuel Wallerstein, or Samir Amin. But I believe the best representative and carrier of this tradition is Andre Gunder Frank. Frank’s 1972 book: The Development of Underdevelopment is available through a google search as a pdf. Also, read about Frank in the article entitled “Legacies” authored by Cristóbal Kay (found at a google site.). I’ll bring in my recent research on Brazilian economist Celso Furtado and consider his work on the impoverished Sertão of Brazil’s Northeast.As we consider Marx’s understanding of “uneven development” we will read from Marx’s Ecology: materialism and nature (2000), authored by John Bellamy Foster. Foster introduces ‘metabolic rift’, an idea drawn directly Marx that lays a foundation for Marx’s understanding of ecology. Week 7Part VII “The Accumulation of Capital” Chapters XXIII to XXV Part VIII
“The So-Called Primitive Accumulation” Chapters XXVI to XXXIIIFirst Draft of Research Paper Due: on Tuesday, 19 May, by 5:00 p.m. Please slide under my office door (Cramer 241-P) prior to lecture.Weeks 8, 9
Topic, “Capitalist Reproduction”Capital Vol. II, Part III, Chapter XX “Simple Reproduction”Capital Vol. II, Chapter XXI
“Accumulation and Reproduction on an Extended Scale” Topics: “Marx and Crisis Theory”Capital, Vol. III, see Chapter on Crisis Theory “The Law of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall.” Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism by V.I. Lenin
“Some Who Carry on Marx’s Tradition”V. I. Lenin The Development of Capitalism in Russia, Chapters 1 and 2Important to consider is Rosa Luxemburg’s great classic, The Accumulation of Capital, especially, Section III, and within this section, especially Chapters,27- “The Struggle Against Natural Economy,” Chapter 28 “The Introduction of Commodity Economy”Chapter 29 “The Struggle Against Peasant Economy”John Bellamy Foster. Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature. Monthly Review Press, 2000. Also, consider Foster’s inquiry into “metabolic rift.” Week 10
Topics” Imperialism. by J.A. Hobson (any edition) “Revisionism and the Rise of Social Democracy”
“Marx’s Critics” Eduard Bernstein. The Pre-Conditions for Socialism Karl Kautsky Die Agrarfrage.
Mikhail Bakunin, Marxism, Freedom, and the State, see Chapter 3, “The State and Marxism” (found with google search)F. Hayek
The Road to Serfdom, as well as, Collectivist Economic Planning edited by: Ludwig von Mises