Episode 66: How Not to Evaluate the Relevance of “Capital”

Prominent critics––Paul Baran & Paul Sweezy, Silvia Federici, and many others––claim that changes in capitalism since Marx’s time have made his analyses in Capital less relevant. They say that the world no longer looks like the world described in Capital, or that important aspects of capitalism are overlooked or left underdeveloped by Marx.

The co-hosts discuss Andrew’s essay, “How Not to Evaluate the Relevance of Marx’s Capital,” which challenges such claims. Andrew argues that they miss the mark because they presume, incorrectly, that Capital is a descriptive work or a book about (all of) capitalism, not a theoretical work specifically about capital. He and Brendan then discuss claims made by Federici (that Marx “ignored” women’s reproductive work) and Baran & Sweezy (that Marx’s falling-rate-of-profit theory is no longer relevant in the age of “monopoly capital”). Andrew argues that these claims mischaracterize Capital’s genre in the above manner, and that they are wrong for other reasons as well.

 
Plus current-events segment: “left” opposition to Ukrainian national self-determination. Brendan and Andrew discuss the Peace in Ukraine coalition’s demand for a negotiated settlement and critical comments on MHI’s editorial in support of Ukrainian national self-determination.

 

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

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April 15, 2022

4 Comments

  1. Great episode! Professor Kliman, thank you once again on my behalf for approving us to translate this great article into Serbian.

  2. Thank you for another great episode. This discussion could not have come at a better time for me personally as I am starting my first full reading of Capital Volume 1. I have not read many post-Marx Marxists beyond Dunayevskaya so I have few preconceptions of “mistakes” or “corrections” (such as Okishio’s Theorem or Harvey’s work) that “need” to be applied to Capital in order for it to make sense or be correct. Previous episodes of this podcast have shown that Capital can stand on its own and doesn’t need correction. But I did have the misconception that Capital would fully describe capitalism. So I appreciated this discussion in illuminating why that is wrong and to frame my reading of Capital to understand the focus on just capital and not capitalism. Thanks again.

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