This is the final Session of Prof Richard Wolff’s online course Introduction to Marxian Economics. Session 4 applies Marx’s theory of surplus to today’s economy and gives us a look at how the theory can be applied outside of the industrial production process, using the household as an example.
This 4 session course essentially teaches Marx’s theory of surplus value in industrial production, the subject of Capital, Vol 1. It is neither a discussion of nor advocacy for socialism or communism. Marx, among others, realized that the principle goals of the French revolution, liberty, equality and brotherhood, had not been attained and he saw capitalism as a primary factor in that failure. He spent years writing on the subject of capitalism, analyzing and critiquing the theories of neoclassical economists, most notably Adam Smith, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill, culminating in the publishing of the 1st volume of Capital in 1867. In the years following Marx’s death in 1883 his notebooks were edited and published as Vols 2 and 3. The 3-volume Theories of Surplus Value is commonly referred to as Volume 4 of Capital, indeed, the Progress Publishers, Moscow edition shows (Volume IV of Capital) on the title page. Marx thought of his work as separate from the work of the neoclassical economists, being a critical analysis of capitalism rather than extolling its virtues.
For those joining us for the first time you can find the entire course at the link below. It’s an autoplay link so it will take you from start to finish without having to search for the segments.
Next up is Advanced & Applied Marxian Economics Intensive Course. This video series has not been put on YouTube. There are 4 sessions, each about 1 1/2 hours and they automatically advance. You can switch from one session to another but there are no segments as there were for the Intro course.
Marx in the Morning will return on 10 April for a discussion of Session 1 of the Advanced course.
I’ve really enjoyed doing this and hope y’all have learned something from it.
For those who wish to pursue Marx in more depth all 3 volumes of Capital have been published by Penguin Classics and can be ordered through your fave, preferably independent, bookseller. Another major work by Marx has also been published by Penguin: The Grundrisse, “[a] series of seven notebooks [that] were rough-drafted by Marx, chiefly for purposes of self-clarification, during the winter of 1857-8.” “It is an extremely rich and thought-provoking work, showing signs of humanism and the influence of Hegelian dialectic method. Do note, though, Marx did not intend it for publication as is, so it can be stylistically very rough in places.” (from a note preceding the Grundrisse at the Marxist Internet Archive)