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Introduction to Marxist Political Economy

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  • UserProfessor Ben Fine, School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London
  • ClockWednesday 22 January 2014, 17:30-19:00
  • HouseLittle Hall Sidgwick Site.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact marco schneebalg.

As part of the “NOT in the curriculum” series, the Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism presents an introduction to Socialist Economics presented by Professor Ben Fine, Professor of Economics at the School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London.

Prof. Ben Fine is the author of a number of works in the broad tradition of Marxist economics, and has made contributions on economic imperialism and social capital. His most significant book to date is: Marx’s ‘Capital’ 5th ed. (2010), widely recognised as one of the best introduction to Marx’s Economics. He most recently co-authored “From Economics Imperialism to Freakonomics: The Shifting Boundaries Between Economics and Other Social Sciences” and serves on the Social Science Research Committee of the UK’s Food Standards Agency. He took his doctorate in economics at the London School of Economics, under the supervision of Amartya Sen. He was professor at Birkbeck, University of London and the University of Cambridge.

Marxist economics is preoccupied with the development and crises of modern capitalist societies broadly conceived -including not only those aspects usually thought of as economic but also such issues as individual and social alienation, the evolution of industrial organization, the politics of social policy, the social composition of the unemployed as well as those in labor markets, imperialism, and so on. Within the framework of these broader interests, using methodologies which bring out social and political dimensions, Marxian economics studies all the usual topics of economics: labor markets, macroeconomics, the behavior of the firm, technological change, commerce and trade and so on, at both the national and international levels. However, unlike mainstream economics which is designed to contribute to the management and perpetuation of capitalism, Marxian economics theorizes and attempts to contribute to the transcendence of the current social order by elaborating a critical theory of both the limits of capitalism and the forces which tend to push beyond it. While also useful in analysing the dynamics and contradictions of 20th Century “socialist” economies, Marxian economics rejects utopian projections about alternatives to capitalism in favor of focusing on the social conflicts undermining it and building potential elements of post-capitalist society.

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