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Lecture 4 POLS2402 (Marxism and global accumulation)

Lecture 4 POLS2402 (Marxism and global accumulation) -...

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POLS2402 Marxism and the theory of global accumulation Week 5, 24 August 2011 Major claim: capital accumulation is global (relentlessly expanding across the globe, incessantly seeking new production or profit-making opportunities and new locations). Therefore the real object of analysis in political economy must be the global economy, the world economy – the economy is real only at this level, the forces determining economic activity can be understood only if we see nations as incidental to the whole (just as the ‘economy’ of Carmody Rd, St. Lucia is incidental to the Australian economy). Economies are porous. Many Australia-located economic agents get their revenue from activity located elsewhere; many; many overseas economic agents get their income from activity located here… However capitalism is wracked by contradictions (depends on social conditions which can’t  be sustained) & is subject to internal conflicts & tendencies that constantly threaten it). * Marx’s conclusion: capitalism can’t last forever. (But we don’t know when….) [ * These are big questions ] A question at the heart of marxian political economy: does the analysis really imply the irrelevance of national politics?
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Karl Marx & marxian political economy [KM: 1818-1883] 1. The critique of political economy – successor to Smith & Ricardo 2. The ‘forces of production’ and the ‘relations of production’ (wealth and its preconditions) 3. Marx’s crisis theory (what disrupts the economy, what are the effects of the disruptions?) 4. The ‘epoch of social revolution’ (long-term transition?) 1. The critique of political economy = historical materialism English /Scottish political economy: examine social bases of capitalist economy German idealist philosophy: dialectical way of reasoning French political thought: democracy is incomplete The materialist conception of history: progress is likely, but not necessarily capitalist(?) Materialism : production is important for everything else – a (disputed) anthropological assumption social existence determines consciousness though perhaps a complex interaction between ideas, institutions, structure and action.
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After Ricardo: classical political economy  Economics & neo-classical (orthodox) tradition  Marx’s ‘critique of political economy’ Capital 1867, 1885, 1894 (3 vols + TSV 1905-10 + Grundrisse c.1857) Marx anticipates a more fully developed capitalism and understands its development by extending logical possibilities to the limit. Marxism’s break with Smith & Ricardo: emphasis on production, labour, surplus, exploitation, commodity status of labour, class, class conflict, tendencies to crisis. Marx shares with S & R: commitment to LTV [Labour is the source of all ‘value’…. ] both expect globalization
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2a. Relations of production (property relations, social relations, preconditions for capitalism) Market allocation of resources Profitability as criterion for production Commodity production (incl. commodification of labour) Hierarchical, undemocratic, control of the labour process (i.e. the production process)
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