An introduction to the analysis of marxism and economic theory

The Theory of Value and Surplus Value In the last analysis, every step forward in the history of civilization has been brought about by an increase in the productivity of labor. As long as a given group of men barely produced enough to keep itself alive, as long as there was no surplus over and above this necessary product, it was impossible for a division of labor to take place and for artisans, artists or scholars to make their appearance. Under these conditions, the technical prerequisites for such specialization could not possibly be attained. Social Surplus Product As long as the productivity of labor remains at a level where one man can only produce enough for his own subsistence, social division does not take place and any social differentiation within society is impossible.

An introduction to the analysis of marxism and economic theory

There are many theories on how these processes work, ranging from rational choice approaches to arguments influenced by Marxism.

Ernest Mandel: Intro Marxist Economic ()

In this post, I will introduce you to one influential approach, called discourse theory. What this theory is about, and what a discourse actually is, is not always easy to understand: This post is meant to help you if you are new to the field and want to get your bearings.

An introduction to the analysis of marxism and economic theory

I will introduce several definitions of discourse, and will discuss how they relate to various theoretical concepts. In the process, you will meet the key founder of this approach, Michel Foucault, as well as important researchers who work in the field. And of course I will also share my own views on discourse theory with you.

If you are simply looking for a quick overview of the topic, then this video introduction may be useful to you. However, to scholars, discourse is far more than this.

An Introduction to the Field

Discourse can encompass all forms of communication. This is a controversial thing to assume, particularly if you are a scientific realist who is interested in exploring the natural world and finding facts through scientific tools.

Personally, I do not think that discourse theory is anti-scientific, and in fact think that there are many parallels to cognitive science, but that is a discussion for another post. In the side-box, you can see how some of the leading experts explain discourse.

Take a look at these different definitions. What different discourse theories have in common In general, discourse theory is concerned with human expressions, often in the form of language. It highlights how such expressions are linked to human knowledge.

An introduction to the analysis of marxism and economic theory

A shared argument is that the things people say or write draw from a pool of generally accepted knowledge in a society, while at the same time feeding back into society to shape or reinforce such knowledge.

What a society therefore holds to be true changes over time, depending on the ideas that members of a society exchange, and on the way in which such exchange happens.

Certain persons may be in a particularly strong position to define what is true, while others may be excluded from the discussion. For instance, think about the different status that health advice might have when it comes from an experienced, male medical doctor compared to when it comes from your grandmother.

The thought of Karl Marx

Even though you may not know the doctor very well, your view of his social status, of his training, and of his gender all shape how you make sense of his advice. In other words, discourse theory is concerned with questions of power, and often with questions of institutional hierarchies.An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory.

By Ernest Mandel. constitutes the basis for all Marxist sociology and is the bridge connecting Marx's sociological and historical analysis, his theory of classes and the development of society generally, to Marxist economic theory, and more precisely, to the Marxist analysis of all commodity.

Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation.

It originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.. Marxism uses a methodology, now known as historical materialism, to analyze and critique.

An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory - III. Neo-capitalism

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The cover is from a Greek portrayal of the reality of war -- a fitting portrayal too of life under socialism. An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory Ernest Mandel I. The Theory of Value and Surplus Value In the last analysis, every step forward in the history of civilization has been brought about.

Similarly, the theory of social surplus product and surplus labor, which we discussed at the beginning of this work, constitutes the basis for all Marxist sociology and is the bridge connecting Marx’s sociological and historical analysis, his theory of classes and the development of society generally, to Marxist economic theory, and more precisely, to the Marxist analysis of all commodity-producing societies of a .

We are reproducing a slightly edited version of What is Marxism? by Rob Sewell and Alan Woods, last published in to celebrate the centenary of the death of Karl Marx. The three articles on the fundamental aspects of Marxism, Marxist Economics, Dialectical Materialism and Historical Materialism were originally published separately in the s.

An Introduction to Karl Marx | Revolvy