Economics Transformed: Discovering the Brilliance of Marx
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"In this major new work, an outstanding political philosopher at the height of his powers has given us the clearest and best argued case to date for an increasingly important interpretation of Marxist theory. Albritton's scholarship is also faultless." Professor Bertell Ollman, Department of Politics, New York University, and author of 'Alienation' and 'Dance of the Dialectic' "Albritton provides a much-needed primer designed to show a new generation of students why Marx's thought remains absolutely relevant to all our lives. ... Read it and discover why Marxism matters more than ever." Noel Castree, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester Robert Albritton brings to life the classic concepts in Marx's economic thought. As well as examining these essential points of Marxist theory, he shows that they offer great potential for further study. Deeply critical of the way economics is taught and studied today, this is a textbook that will appeal to anyone who wants a forward-thinking approach to the discipline that's free from the constraints of neo-classical orthodoxy. Taking up key aspects of Marx's work, including surplus value theory, dialectical reasoning and the commodity form, Albritton highlights their relevance in the modern world -- and explains why mainstream economics has been so blind to their revolutionary potential. Written with style and clarity, it is perfect for economics undergraduates.
change. It constitutes a set of mutually informing snapshots, grouped according to principles derived from the dialectic of capital. In the interpretation of Marx that I am advocating, there is a full Albritton 02 chap05 188 2/4/07 12:50:17 A Critique of Some Critics 189 recognition of the extreme difficulty in understanding the complexity of historical change. Indeed, in my view there is absolutely no point in theory chasing after history. There simply are no laws of motion of history, and
two individuals that may result in, say, an exchange of 50 pounds of gold for a cup of water. Such an exchange would indicate that the owner of the gold was very thirsty indeed and, in a nutshell, that is why barter is not a good indicator of value, which objectively equates all commodities irrespective of the strength of subjective desires in isolated contexts. With barter, exchange ratios may be a one-timeonly ratio established according to the subjective desires or power relations of the
is often asserted. A few examples: C I, 252, 260–3, 268, 270, 301, 417–18, 431, 678, 710, 729–30, 747. 14. “…capitalist production is commodity production as the general form of production, but is only so, and becomes ever more so in its development, because labour itself here appears as a commodity…” (C II, 196). 15. Marx says as much in many places. Albritton 01 chap01 69 2/4/07 11:50:31 70 Economics Transformed knees. And these considerations point us towards ethical and moral
struggle in history, but we do not know what forms this will take. Similarly we know that capital will centralize, but we do not know at what rate and in what organizational forms. We know that capital will be prone to periodic crises, but we do not know their precise causes, their depth and duration, their geographical impact, and the nature of the recovery. We know that capital will always need to find ways to counter a falling rate of 33. For example, see Aglietta (1979), Farjoun and Machover
capital and individuals confront each other as buyers and sellers. Here, Marx is emphasizing the greater innerness of value categories relative to price categories within the larger totality of pure capitalism, or, in other words, the greater theoretical concreteness of price categories. It follows that there can be totalities within totalities. Albritton 01 chap01 101 2/4/07 11:50:35 102 Economics Transformed Marx (S I, 409) writes: “In considering the essential relations of capitalist