Studying Marx’s Capital From a Libertarian Perspective: Introduction

February 25, 2010

I’m starting a new series of posts in response to Marx’s Capital. I have not read the work previously, so I will be writing as I learn. Because I’m not much into reading, I will study Marx’s Capital primarily via Librivox audio podcast (rss), but I will refer to the Google Books version of the text when necessary.  To assist with understanding, I will be viewing David Harvey’s video lecture series (rss) on the book as I listen.  Here is the introductory lecture:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

As usual, it looks like I’ve come to the first class unprepared.  After an hour of general history, Harvey launches into Marx’s theory of value before I’d “read” and considered Chapter 1 of Capital.  I’ll save most of my critique for Marx himself, but here is my an initial reaction to Harvey’s lecture: Read the rest of this entry »


links for 2010-02-16

February 17, 2010
  1. World Socialist Party (US) | Labor Theory of Value

    Looking for a simple, concise explanation of the theory, I find instead this litany of apologetics. Written almost entirely on the defensive, the article explains nothing about the Labor Theory of Value except why Marx scoffed at requests to explain it: — “if one wanted to ‘explain’ from the outset all phenomena that apparently contradict the law, one would have to provide the science before the science” (Collected Works vol. 43, p. 68). I don’t know if that explanation satisfies you, but I find it wanting. I think, ultimately, Marx uses the word “VALUE” as a term of art that means simply that part of an item’s existence attributable to the labor required to produce it. So, if I spent 50 man-hours making 50,000 turd sandwiches, Marx would “VALUE” those turd sandwiches at the going rate for 50 man-hours of labor. Sure, the labor theory of value makes sense in THAT context, but what about real life, in which we don’t always have the luxury of defining words as we please?

    Update: It has come to my attention after listening to a lecture on the opening chapter of Marx’s Capital that Marx believed that useless items had no value. He actually employed three terms of art, and what he saw as the relationships between them, to describe what a layman would call “value”. The terms are: use value, exchange value, and value. An explanation of this in the linked article would have been helpful.

  2. reason.tv | Don’t Get Hurt

    Fear of addiction and other harms resulting from prescription pain-killers is overblown, argues Ted Balaker at Reason. Read the rest of this entry »