Welcome to the discussion group on Marx’s theories on class analysis. In his usual way Prof Wolff lays out the foundation and history of class analysis in his first class. We all know the broad terms rich, poor, powerful, powerless. Wolff shows us how Marx looked at class from a different perspective. All of the sessions of this course are on one web page:
Marxian Class Analysis Theory and Practice
In all of his courses Prof Wolff talks about other works of Marx that are connected to his opus, Capital. I thought a short review of these published works might be in order. In addition to Capital and essays and articles published in various journals in the 1850s-80s, Marx wrote 3 major works in his lifetime. These books cover one or more topics in more depth than is covered in Capital.
Grundrisse, written in 1857 and was not intended to be published and indeed wasn’t until 1939. It is a collection of notebooks of Marx in his research on capitalism. It contains more in depth material on some of the topics covered in Capital. David Harvey’s course Reading Vols 2 and 3 of Capital refers to text in it. It is available through Penguin Classics.
A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Written in 1859 it was intended to be the first installment of a much larger work on capitalism. It was overtaken by Capital. Its sections on the history of money and theories of surplus value add depth to those topics as covered by Capital. It’s now available from Forgotten Books, either as a free ebook download or hardcopy through Amazon. Both are facsimile copies of the 1904 International Library Publishing Company edition.
Theories of Surplus Value. Written in 1861 this 3-volume work, almost as big as Capital, is Marx’s notes on portions of the theories of classical economists Adam Smith, David Ricardo and others. Good luck finding complete sets of this work. Separate volumes are out there, various editions published by Progress Publishers, Moscow in the 1960a and 70s, about $20 a copy. There’s nothing wrong with having different editions, the translations are the same. There are no paperback editions unless you go to International Publishers, where it’s spread out over 3 volumes in the Complete Works of Marx and Engels, something close to 40 volumes. There are other writings in the 1st and 3rd volumes so you’ll have more than just Theories. $24.95 a copy.
For those who don’t have a problem reading really long texts online all of Marx’s and Engels’ works are on the Marxist archive website:
Marx Engels Archive
This is one section of the much larger Marxists Internet Archive. All you fans of Emma Goldman and Rosa Luxemburg will have a ball here.
Marxist Internet Archive
So, what did you think of the first session?
Class 2 next week.