Reading Capital

Yesterday we were talking about some of the issues with only reading parts of very long books, including Marx’s Capital. Derek Stanovsky is currently teaching a class on Marx‘s Capital at Appalachian State University. Stanovsky’s approach in many ways circumvents at least one of the issues in reading Capital. Their syllabus begins by reading Part Eight, the final section of Capital on the “So-Called Primitive Accumulation.” This is a great idea. Part Eight presents some of the most important ideas in Capital and it changes the way you see the entire rest of the book. The sad reality, however, is that most people never get that far. David Harvey even goes so far as to recommend rereading the entire book after reading this section. For those of you who don’t have time to read it all twice, starting with Part Eight can be useful. It will change the way you look all the details in the middle. More importantly it provides a better understanding of what is so original, and controversial, about this book.

The entire syllabus is available here, for reference or in case you want to follow along:

On a side note, Joseph Schumpeter makes an interesting, if not entirely convincing argument against Marx’s notion of Primitive Accumulation in his 1919 essay “The Sociology of Imperialisms.” Here is an excerpt, a review and the entire essay for anyone who would like to take a look.


~ by severalfourmany on January 22, 2013.

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