Both the number of initial unemployment claims for unemployment compensation and the number of continued claims for unemployment compensation are once again on the rise, signaling a worsening of the Pandemic Depression.
Author Archive | David Ruccio
There is no necessary trajectory to Marx’s writings, no reason his earlier writings had to lead to or culminate in Capital. However, as we look back from the vantage point of his critique of political economy, we can see the ways his thinking changed and how the elements of that critique emerged.
It was during the “age of capital,” as the illustrious British historian Eric Hobsbawm aptly called it, that Marx formulated his critique of political economy.
The third major influence on Marx’s critique of political economy (in addition to and combined with classical economics and Hegel’s philosophy) was utopian socialism.
It is difficult to fully understand the Marxian critique of political economy without some understanding of Hegel. No less an authority than Lenin wrote that “it is impossible completely to understand Marx’s Capital, and especially its first chapter, without having thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegel’s Logic.”
But where did Marx’s critique of mainstream economics come from? It certainly did not emerge in one fell swoop, as a ready-made theory of capitalism. And it wasn’t produced in isolation, independently of the society within which it was first produced and then further elaborated.
U.S. billionaires have recouped all of their wealth—and more—during the Pandemic Depression. Meanwhile, since May, the number of poor Americans has grown by about 8 million.
Marxian economists have been quite critical of contemporary mainstream economics. As we saw in Chapter 1, and will continue to explore in the remainder of this book, Marxian economists have challenged the general approach as well as all of the major conclusions of both neoclassical and Keynesian economics.
Keynes’s criticisms of neoclassical economics set off a wide-ranging debate that came to define the terms of—and, ultimately, the limits of debate within—mainstream economics.
Once it was created as a new theory of capitalism, neoclassical economics expanded its influence—in its original countries as well as elsewhere.
The relation between economic theories and economic systems is even more dynamic. The various economic theories of capitalism are not just different ways of making sense of that particular economic system. They emerge, develop, and change over time as capitalism itself changes—and, in turn, they have effects back on capitalism.
Readers today will be more familiar with contemporary mainstream economics than with the mainstream economics of Marx’s day. So, let’s start there.
In the previous chapter, we saw that Marxian economics represents a two-fold critique: a critique of mainstream economic theory and a critique of capitalism, the economic and social system celebrated by mainstream economists.
It’s an obvious question for those of us living now, in the twenty-first century. Is Marxian economics still relevant?
One of the best reasons for studying Marxian economics is to understand all those criticisms—the criticisms of mainstream economic theory and the criticisms of capitalism.
This is certainly not the first time people have looked beyond mainstream economics.
Marxian economists recognize, just like mainstream economists, that capitalism has radically transformed the world in recent decades, continuing and in some cases accelerating long-term trends.
My goal is to write a textbook that can fulfill two purposes: first, a stand-alone book for courses that are focused on Marxian economics or survey courses that have a section devoted to Marxian economics; second, it will also be useful as a companion text in a course that is based on reading all of […]
The number of continued claims for unemployment compensation, while below its peak, rose from the previous week and was more than 29 million American workers—a figure that includes workers receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Right now, the United States is mired in an economic depression, the Pandemic Depression, not dissimilar to what happened in the 1930s and again after the crash of 2007-08.