Capital

Interview: 'People are searching for ideas to explain the system'

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Camilla Royle spoke to Joseph Choonara, author of a new guide to Capital, about the relevance of Marx’s great work to the world today.

This year is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Capital volume 1. As you say in your book, the 50th anniversary was the year of the Russian Revolution and the 100th anniversary was right before the events of 1968 such as the civil rights movement and the general strike in France. How relevant is Capital today?

Exploring Capital

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The current crisis of capitalism has coincided with a renewed interest in Marx's Capital. Socialist Review spoke to Alex Callinicos about his forthcoming book examining Marx's understanding of capitalism.


There's been a revival of interest and debate in Marx's Capital. Why do you think this is and why did you want to intervene in these debates with your new book?

The main reason is because of the radicalisation and resistance to neoliberalism that we've seen since the 1990s. Initially there were critiques of neoliberalism and capitalism on very diverse intellectual bases.

Why read Wage-Labour and Capital?

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Wage-Labour and Capital is online at http://bit.ly/187qEer

Karl Marx's pamphlet Wage Labour and Capital first appeared as a series of articles in Neue Rheinische Zeitung, the newspaper that Marx edited during the 1848-9 revolution that swept Germany and Europe.

The articles were based lectures that Marx had given to German workers in Brussels in 1847.

Marx's aim in the pamphlet is to set out and explain "the economic conditions which form the material basis of the present struggles between classes."

Of zombies and cannibals

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With many unprofitable companies avoiding bankruptcy, can capitalism rise from the dead?

Anyone turning to the economics sections of the "high-brow" press recently could be forgiven for thinking they had turned to the film reviews section by mistake. Talk of zombies has been everywhere - but it isn't the latest film from director George Romero they have been discussing. Instead it's "zombie banks", "zombie firms" and even "zombie households" that are the focus of much attention.

States and capital, the banks and the bailouts

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Right wingers usually argue that the state should get out of the way of private capital - that economic problems are caused by an overbearing state or regulation. Jack Farmer argues that the state actually serves to prop up the private sector, a role confirmed by the way that capitalism has evolved in recent years

Tories often say that they don't like the state. They say it's a drag on the economy, dampening the risk-taking creativity of the private sector.

Can Marxism explain the crisis?

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Recent panic in the stock markets has led some commentators to ask whether Karl Marx might have been right after all. Bill Dunn explains some of the core ideas at the heart of Marx's understanding of capitalism and shows how they can be used to explain the system's current crisis

Worries that banks might not get the returns they expected from lending to Greece and other states have provoked a fresh round of stock market panic. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its global growth forecast for 2012 to 4 percent. By coincidence, this is exactly the same figure that in October 2008 it predicted for 2009. It had no idea, even after it had begun, that we were in for a spectacular contraction.

Zombie Capitalism

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Chris Harman, Bookmarks Publications; £16.99

Lenin once wrote of politics, "There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen." For people around the world, rich and poor, young and old, this statement could rarely have rung more true than late in 2008 when the economic orthodoxy came down to earth with an almighty bump.

Unravelling Capitalism

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Joseph Choonara, Bookmarks Publications; £7.99

Last October the right wing Daily Mail reported that Karl Marx's Capital was a bestseller in Germany. Around the same time a Capital reading movement was initiated in over 30 different German universities by the student organisation associated with the left wing party Die Linke. More recently several groups of students at British universities including Birkbeck, King's College London and Oxford have begun similar projects (for example, see kclreadingcapital.blogspot.com).

Interview: David Harvey - Exploring the logic of capital

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Joseph Choonara spoke to acclaimed Marxist theoretician David Harvey about capitalism's current crisis and his online reading group of Karl Marx's Capital which shows the revival of interest in this work.

Some commentators view the current crisis as arising from problems in finance that then impinged on the wider economy; others see it as a result of issues that arose in production and then led to financial problems. How do you view it?

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