Essays By Marx

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Whether it took an hour or a week to build a mousetrap, the value of the two products is the same to the consumer if the quality is the same.

Marx had philosophical, metaphysical and tactical reasons for holding fast to the labour theory of value.

From the viewpoint of conventional economics – and elementary logic – this is ludicrous.

For example, ingenuity, which may not be time-consuming, is nonetheless a major source of value.

Political economy, defined in the study of social relations and culture.

Originally published in the former Soviet Union, was suppressed and after 1928 it was never re-issued. Includes an outstanding introductory essay on "Commodity Fetishism" by Fredy Perlman.Living outside the Christian community, but within the borders of Christendom, they were allowed to commit the sin of usury on the grounds that their souls were already forfeit. “There is on earth no greater enemy of man, after the Devil, than a gripe-money and usurer, for he wants to be God over all men…. And since we break on the wheel and behead highwaymen, murderers and housebreakers, how much more ought we to break on the wheel and kill … ” It should therefore come as no surprise that Luther’s views of Jews, the living manifestation of usury in the medieval mind, were just as immodest.Pope Nicholas V insisted that it is much better that “this people should perpetrate usury than that Christians should engage in it with one another.” The Jews were used as a commercial caste the way the untouchables of India were used as a sanitation caste. Luther agitated against the Jews throughout Europe, condemning local officials for insufficient antisemitism.From the time of antiquity until the Enlightenment, trade and the pursuit of wealth were considered sinful.“In the city that is most finely governed,” Aristotle wrote, “the citizens should not live a vulgar or a merchant’s way of life, for this sort of way of life is ignoble and contrary to virtue.” In Plato’s vision of an ideal society (the Republic) the ruling “guardians” would own no property to avoid tearing “the city in pieces by differing about ‘mine’ and ‘not mine.'” He added that “all that relates to retail trade, and merchandise, and the keeping of taverns, is denounced and numbered among dishonourable things.” Only noncitizens would be allowed to indulge in commerce. Earl of the University of Leeds, who wrote that in Ancient Rome, “all trade was stigmatized as undignified …Lending money at interest was unnatural, in this view, and therefore invidious.“While expertise in exchange is justly blamed since it is not according to nature but involves taking from others,” Aristotle insisted, “usury is most reasonably hated because one’s possessions derive from money itself and not from that for which it was supplied.” In the Christian tradition, the only noble labour was physical labour, and so earning wealth from the manipulation of money was seen as inherently ignoble.“For where your treasure is,” he proclaimed in his Sermon on the Mount, “there will your heart be also.” And of course he insisted that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The Catholic Church incorporated this view into its teachings for centuries, holding that economics was zero-sum.“The Fathers of the Church adhered to the classical assumption that since the material wealth of humanity was more or less fixed, the gain of some could only come at a loss to others,” the economic historian Jerry Muller explains in his book ” – “If one does not lose, the other does not gain.” The most evil form of wealth accumulation was the use of money to make money – usury.In this slim, insightful volume, noted economist Samir Amin returns to the core of Marxian economic thought: Marx's theory of value.He begins with the same question that Marx, along with the classical economists, once pondered: how can every commodity, including labor power, sell at its value on the market and still produce a profit for owners of capital?


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