Following Marx: Method, Critique and Crisis (Historical Materialism Book Series)

Following Marx: Method, Critique and Crisis (Historical Materialism Book Series)

Michael A. Lebowitz

Language: English

Pages: 365

ISBN: 1608460339

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

What does it mean to follow Marx? In this examination of Marx’s methodology combined with specific applications on topics in political economy such as neo-Ricardian theory, analytical Marxism, the falling rate of profit, crisis-theory, monopoly-capital, advertising, and the capitalist state, this volume argues that the failure to understand (or the explicit rejection of) Marx’s method has led astray many who consider themselves Marxists.

About the Author Michael A. Lebowitz is professor emeritus of Economics at Simon Fraser University. His book, Beyond ‘Capital': Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class was awarded the Deutscher Memorial Prize in 2004. His Build it Now: Socialism for the Twenty-first Century has been republished in several languages.

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society – as well as to criticise the political economy which directly relates the surface forms without determining their underlying and essential links. It was not, on the other hand, meant as a demonstration that the abstract concepts are the reality, a position which Marx described as Hegel’s error.17 From this perspective, once the inner connections of categories have been grasped, consideration of relationships among concrete forms does not require us to reproduce, each time, the process by

Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change. PRINTED IN THE NETHERLANDS For a new generation of Marxist political economists who recognise that methodology and politics are not separate spheres isolated from one another. Contents Acknowledgements ....................................................................................... Introduction To Follow Marx .................................................................... xi xiii PART ONE CRITIQUES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY

which the economic categories were ‘historically decisive’ – a rejection which Lukács called Marx’s 52 53 54 55 56 57 Hegel 1929, II, pp. 482–3. Marx 1973, p. 100. The steps in the derivation of this whole are set out in Lebowitz 2003, pp. 59–63. Marx 1977a, p. 103. Lebowitz, 2003, pp. 52–9. Lenin 1963, p. 320. 84 • Chapter Five ‘methodologically decisive criticism of Hegel’.58 Nevertheless, the intellectual discipline that Marx absorbed from Hegel guided him: he understood the importance of

capitalists to ‘bribe and win over to their side an aristocracy of labor’.105 Monopoly Capital, thus, answered another question: what happened to the working class? A less, rather than more, revolutionary proletariat in the developed countries was an inherent characteristic of the era of monopoly capital. Yet, capitalism had to be understood as a ‘global system embracing both the (relatively few) industrializing countries and their (relatively numerous) satellites and dependencies’; and, in that

enormous increase in arms spending were identified by Baran and Sweezy as important explanations of the postwar boom.109 Similarly, in Monthly Review at the time, Sweezy and Huberman emphasised the importance of the postwar reconstruction boom of Western Europe and the stimulus of growing trade within the Common Market; within a year of the publication of Monopoly Capital, their list of factors explaining the boom included military spending, deficit finance, tax subsidies and the growth of

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