The Value of Capital

Roberts, William Clare

Publisher:  Jacobin
Date Written:  27/03/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20529

Roberts responds to David Harvey's review of his publication "Marx's Inferno: The Political Theory of Capital" by defending and opening up a discussion regarding the theories presented in Marx's "Capital," and how they connect with the rest of his oeuvre.



At present, the Left is energized but weak. Young people are widely disenchanted with capitalism and the post-Cold War global order, and are open-minded about socialism. At the same time, the political and economic organizations of the Left are in shambles, and there is no theoretical or tactical center of gravity. I think this is precisely the moment to reread the history of socialist theory, to return to and rework first principles.

No one is more important, in this respect, than Marx. The question is, which Marx?

My book defends the dignity of the first volume of Capital and argues that it contains a Marx we need to recover today. Harvey disagrees, arguing that "taking Volume 1 as a standalone treatise is deeply problematic."

This disagreement, his "most serious objection" to my book, is refracted through three substantive differences between our approaches to Marx. One concerns the sort of theory Capital provides. The second concerns the content of Marx's arguments in Volume 1. The third concerns Marx's relationship to socialism, then and now.

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