Peking University, School of Marxist Studies
May 5-6, 2018
Volumes II and III of Marx’s Capital describe how debt grows exponentially, burdening the economy with carrying charges. This overhead is subjecting today’s Western finance-capitalist economies to austerity, shrinking living standards and capital investment while increasing their cost of living and doing business. That is the main reason why they are losing their export markets and becoming de-industrialized.
Working-class and pro-working-class socialists and left anarchists have long fought for shorter working hours (with no reductions in pay) for some very good radically democratic reasons. It isn’t just that workers’ everyday lives and collective marketplace and workplace bargaining power are enhanced when they are freed from the scourge of over-work and when working hours are spread more evenly across the workforce. Beyond these real and meaningful gains, rank-and-file socialists and left anarchists have long supported decent working hours so that workers can have enough time to develop tastes and build knowledge and organizations to fight for a world beyond the rule of capitalism, the profit- and accumulation-addicted system that, in Karl Marx’s famous 1848 words, “resolve[s] personal worth into exchange value” and “le[aves] no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment.’”
The Communist Manifesto is a political pamphlet written by German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. First published in 1848 in London, the manifesto helped fuel the Spring of Nations revolutions of the same year.
“At the same pace that mankind masters nature, man seems to become enslaved to other men or to his own infamy. Even the pure light of science seems unable to shine but on the dark background of ignorance. All our invention and progress seem to result in endowing material forces with intellectual life, and in stultifying human life into a material force.” Karl Marx. Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 500. Continue reading →
Review of Crisis and Change Today
By Peter Knapp and Alan J. Spector
Knapp and Spector have written a superb introduction to Marxist thought, a much-needed one, since reading Marx can be a daunting task. The grand old man’s prose is often ponderous, abstract, and complex, so many readers can’t discern his full meaning. Continue reading →
Malthus, Thomas Robert (1766-1834): British economist and spokesman for its landlord class. His Principles of Political Economy (1820) countered Ricardo’s critique of groundrent by pointing out that landlords spent part of it on hiring coachmen and other servants and buying luxury products (coaches, fine clothes and so forth), thus providing a source of demand for British industry, and part capital improvements to raise farm productivity. Continue reading →
Simon Patten recalled in 1912 that his generation of American economists – most of whom studied in Germany in the 1870s – were taught that John Stuart Mill’s 1848 Principles of Political Economy was the high-water mark of classical thought. However, Mill’s reformist philosophy turned out to be “not a goal but a half-way house” toward the Progressive Era’s reforms. Mill was “a thinker becoming a socialist without seeing what the change really meant,” Patten concluded. “The Nineteenth Century epoch ends not with the theories of Mill but with the more logical systems of Karl Marx and Henry George. But the classical approach to political economy continued to evolve, above all through Thorstein Veblen.
Multidimensional and complex nature and effects of imperialism on democracy, society, nature, and human nature
“At the same pace that mankind masters nature, man seems to become enslaved to other men or to his own infamy. Even the pure light of science seems unable to shine but on the dark background of ignorance. All our invention and progress seem to result in endowing material forces with intellectual life, and in stultifying human life into a material force.” Karl Marx. Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 500. “That hideous pagan idol (imperialism), who would not drink the nectar but from the skulls of the slain.” Karl Marx. On Colonialism, Moscow Publication, 1968, p. 87.
One of the more common objections raised to Marx’s theory of value, at least here in the theoretical void of cyberspace, is the objection posed by subjective value theory. Though these modern objections often take quite a crude, simplistic tone, they are echoes of a rather old debate, one that dates back to debates between Marxists and Austrian economists that took place in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s. Continue reading →
In Paris, Marx finally encountered the social force capable of achieving liberation.
“I AM referring to ruthless criticism of all that exists, ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of the results…and being just as little afraid of conflict with the powers that be.”
Marx was in a fighting mood in the months after the German authorities banned the Rheinische Zeitung, the newspaper he had edited in 1842-43. This is not to say that he was unhappy, far from it. After years of courtship, he and Jenny Westphalen were finally married and soon expecting their first child. As Howard Zinn put it in his play Marx in Soho, the two “were powerfully in love.”