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Tag Archives: Marxism

Rudolf Hilferding on the Law of Value in Volume 1 of Capital

In 1904, Rudolf Hilferding wrote a response to Böhm-Bawerk (1896) called “Böhm-Bawerk’s Criticism of Marx” (Hilferding 1949 [1904]).In this essay of Hilferding, we have a fascinating confirmation of the way in which the early Marxists were concerned to still vindicate the law of value in volume 1 of Capital – the idea that commodities tend to exchange at pure labour values – as an empirical theory.Like Engels, they seized on Marx’s statement in Chapter 10 of volume 3 of Capital as follows:...

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Peter Hitchens on Marxism and Open Borders

In the video below, which struck me as very interesting, especially his remarks on his brother Christopher Hitchens.The amusing meme that the American neoconservatives who planned the Iraq war (which Christopher Hitchens supported so vehemently) were the new liberal Trotskyists is a favourite of libertarians (see here), and there may well be an element of truth to it, given that the neoconservative foreign policy was a radical departure from the realist school of foreign...

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Capitalists and Imperialism

The relationship is a favourite of Marxists and even other leftists, and the usual line is: capitalism is inherently imperialistic.But is it? There are different forms of capitalism, and, above all, laissez faire ideology is not monolithic, and it comes in different forms.And it’s rather obvious that some of the most vehement capitalist ideologues are also the most vehemently anti-imperialist. Just think of Murray Rothbard or Ron Paul.For instance, just take Ron Paul’s comments in the videos...

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Marx on Wages in Value, Price and Profit (1865)

Marx’s Value, Price and Profit was a series of lectures he delivered in 1865, even though it was first published in 1898.In this work, Marx has the following to say about the determination of wages in capitalism: (1) “I might answer by a generalization, and say that, as with all other commodities, so with labor, its market price will, in the long run, adapt itself to its value; that, therefore, despite all the ups and downs, and do what he may, the working man will, on an average, only...

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Marx and the “Iron Law of Wages”

This is an interesting point about Marx’s economic theory: he rejected the orthodox Classical “iron law of wages.” Nevertheless, there are still severe problems with Marx’s theory of wages.In essence, the Classical “iron law of wages” was derived from (1) the wage fund theory in Classical economics and (2) Malthusian population theory. The “iron law of wages” was, then, in view of (2) a kind of “law of nature.”By contrast, Marx rejected Malthusian population theory (Baumol 1983: 304, 305),...

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Empirical Studies showing that Prices are Correlated with Labour Costs do not Prove the Classical Marxist Labour Theory of Value!

I can’t count the number of times some absurd apologists for Marxism cite some paper in my comments section showing prices are correlated with labour costs – as if this proves the classical Marxist labour theory of value.It does no such thing. The Marxist labour theory of value says much more than this.In volume 1 of Capital, the “law of value” expounded there was later described by Marx in these terms: “The assumption that the commodities of the various spheres of production are sold at...

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More on Engels’ Supplement to Volume 3 of Capital

It was in the spring of 1895 that Engels wrote his supplement to volume 3 of Capital (Howard and King 1989: 48), a small essay which clarifies how Engels understood Marx’s law of value at the end of Engels’ life (Engels died on August 5, 1895).This was written in May 1895 for the Neue Zeit (Marx 1991: 1027, n.), which is available as the “Supplement and Addendum” to Volume 3 of Capital in Marx (1991: 1027–1047).This supplement was partly inspired by the critical reviews of volume 3 of Capital...

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Marx and Engels’ Attempt to Salvage the Law of Value in Volume 1 of Capital

I cannot stress enough how important this issue is for clarifying and refuting Marx’s economic theory. Though I have said much of what is below before, it bears repeating with some new observations.In essence, Marx published volume 1 of Capital in German in 1867, but only volume 1 of Capital was published in Marx’s lifetime. The other volumes were edited and published by Engels (for an extended discussion of this, see here). For some reason, Marx refused to publish volumes 2 and 3.In volume...

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Debunking Marxism 101 (Updated)

In the links below I update my series of posts debunking Marxist economics and ideology, to complement my series on Debunking Austrian economics 101.As in the series on Austrian economics, not all posts actually debunk Marxism, but sometimes provide outlines or summaries of Marxist theory or interesting points on Marxism or Karl Marx’s life and thought. There are also some points where constructive things can be said: on endogenous money, the falsity of Say’s law and the monetary theory of...

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Engels’ View of the Theory of Value in Volume 1 of Capital in the 1890s

This can be seen in an article Engels wrote in May 1895 for the Neue Zeit (Marx 1991: 1027, n.), which is available as the “Supplement and Addendum” to Volume 3 of Capital in Marx (1991: 1027–1047).Right at the beginning of this supplement, Engels notes that people such as Achille Loria had pointed to the devastating contradiction between volume 1 and volume 3 of Capital in the theory of value (Marx 1991: 1027–1028).Next, Engels mentions that Werner Sombart, in a review of Marx’s work...

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