Episode 76: “Sociological Marxism” and Capitalist Crises––Interview with Gavin Rae
Brendan and Andrew welcome Gavin Rae, a UK-born sociologist who lives in Poland. They discuss his paper, “The Value of Crisis: Sociological Marxism and the Crisis of Capitalism,” a critique of the “Sociological Marxism” proposed by well-known left sociologists Erik Olin Wright and Michael Burawoy two decades ago, which Gavin characterizes as Marxism without Marxism. Wright and Burawoy rejected Marx’s theory of capitalist crisis, claiming that state economic management has caused capitalism to stabilize, and that the value theory underlying Marx’s crisis theory is internally inconsistent. Gavin argues that the 2007–9 Great Recession soon showed that the notion of stable capitalism is dubious. He suggests that Wright and Burawoy may have shelved the Sociological Marxism project partly for that reason. He also argues that the temporal single-system interpretation of Marx’s value theory has made it untenable to uncritically repeat the charge of the internal inconsistency.
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