Key Elements of Social Theory Revolutionized by Marx


Marx's oeuvre is vast but there are key elements of his ever evolving, class-based contribution to social theory. Declining usefulness for him of Hegelian philosophy and his deepening confrontation with Ricardian political economy were expressions. While the French edition of Capital is closest to Marx’s mature thought, Engels did not understand how work on Russia related to Marx’s evolution, and Engels distorted the outcome. Accumulation of capital is particularly difficult conceptually, including use of ‘primitive accumulation’, and is carefully addressed, as is composition of capital. After Marx, Luxemburg is the most significant contributor to Marxism and her works on political economy and on nationalism are highlighted here. The modern topic of state conspiracies, too often avoided, concludes the book. Troubling issues, however, remain.

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Paul Zarembka is Professor of Economics, State University of New York at Buffalo, and general editor since 1977 of Research in Political Economy (Emerald). With many articles, and also editing Frontiers in Econometrics (Academic Press, 1974) and The Hidden History of 9-11 (Seven Stories Press, 2008), he is listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in the World, among other listings. He worked at the International Labor Office in Geneva, Switzerland, was a Fulbright scholar in Poznan, Poland, and is an activist in his academic union.
“The virtue of Zarembka’s book is that it examines the different ways in which Marx made a contribution to the social sciences. It offers to the reader much that is original and significant.… He explains in clear and accessible language key concepts of Marx’s economics, and how these have been interpreted by writers such as Rosa Luxemburg. This is a book which can be highly recommended both to specialists in Marx’s ideas and to the wider reading public.”
-- James D. White, Critical Sociology, 47:7/8 (Nov 2021, pp. 1349-1353)
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
Note on the Citing of Capital, Volume I

Part 1: The Atrophy of Philosophy

1 The Problem of Hegel
  1 Hegel and Capital, Volume I, 1st German Edition
  2 2nd German and French Editions of Volume I
  3 Sieber on Marx and Criticizing His Use of Hegel; Marx’s Reaction
   3.1 Sieber’s 1871 Book
   3.2 Sieber, Mikhaylovsky and Marx, 1874–1877
   3.3 1881: Marx’s Comment on Sieber and Reply to Zasulich
  4 After Marx’s 1883 Death, Sieber’s Decline and Plekhanov’s Influence
  5 Lenin’s Evolution toward Dialectical Materialism
  6 Conclusion

Part 2: Key Elements of Political Economy

2 Marx’s Evolution and Revolution with the Concept of Value
  1 Poverty of Philosophy (1847): economic Concepts Historically Conditioned
  2 Contribution (1859): abstract Labor as the Substance of Value
  3 Capital, Volume I (1867): labor Power
  4 Other Additions in Volume I: a) Socially Necessary Labor Time, b) Form of Value, c) Labor Time in Constant Capital
   4.1 Socially Necessary Labor Time
   4.2 Form of Value
   4.3 Labor Time Embodied in Constant Capital
  5 Marx’s Retrospective on Value

3 Not Engels, but Marx’s Final Edition of Capital, Volume I (1882)
  1 Marx’s Capital, Volume I: Parts I VI
  2 Volume I: the Structural Divisions Desired by Marx, Contrasted to Engels’ Editions
  3 Marx’s Parts VII and VIII (1882) Compared with Engels’ 3rd Edition (1883)

4 Text: “The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation”, Sections 1–4, as Desired by Marx (1882)
  1 Section 1: the Increased Demand for Labour-Power that Accompanies Accumulation, the Composition of Capital Remaining the Same
  2 Section 2: changes in the Composition of Capital with the Progress of Accumulation and Relative Diminution of that Part of Capital that is Exchanged against Labor Power
  3 Section 3: progressive Production of a Relative Surplus-Population or Industrial Reserve Army
  4 Section 4: different Forms of the Relative Surplus-Population. The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation
  5 Section 5: illustrations of the General Law of Capitalist Accumulation

5 Marx on Primitive Accumulation Contrasted to Engels’ Handling of It
  1 Why, for Marx, Primitive Accumulation became a New Part VIII
  2 Engels’ Handling of the English (1887) and 4th German (1890) Editions of VolumeI
  3 Engels’ Continuing Failure to Recognize Marx’s Advances
  4 Postscript: Marx’s Primitive Accumulation Conflated with Modern Dispossessions/Enclosures

6 Marxist Accumulation of Capital?
  1 Accumulation of Capital in Capital, Volume I
  2 Schemes of Reproduction in Capital, Volume II
  3 Ambiguity
  4 “Marxist Accumulation of Capital”
  5 An Algebraic Model of Marxist Accumulation with Fixed Constant Capital Included

7 Three Troubling Issues
  1 Conundrum: value under Marxist Accumulation of Capital
  2 Sieber’s Query of Value in Marx
  3 Prejudices of Marx and Engels

8 The Composition of Capital Clarified Theoretically, Empirically
  1 Materialized Composition of Capital and the Rate of Profit
  2 Luxemburg’s Recognition of the Materialized Composition, Considering It to be Rising
  3 Marx’s and Engels’ Estimations for Cotton Spinning
  4 Estimates of the Composition of Capital, Post-World War II
  5 Updated Estimation for the United States
   5.1 Introduction by Shaikh of a Revised Methodology for Capital Stock Measurement
   5.2 Quality Adjustment in Capital Stock Measurement
   5.3 Paitaridis and Tsoulfidis’ Implementation of Shaikh’s Methodology
   5.4 Sector Estimates
  6 Limitations of the Current Discussion

9 Luxemburg’s Accumulation of Capital and Consideration of the Evidence
  1 The Issue Luxemburg Addressed
  2 Luxemburg’s Critique of Marx on Accumulation and Her Response to Bauer’s Criticism
   2.1 Bauer’s Critique and Luxemburg’s Reply
  3 Criticism of Luxemburg’s Accumulation after her Death: Bukharin to Shaikh
  4 Luxemburg Gets Assists from Robinson and Kowalik
  5 Historical Accumulation and Fraction of Surplus Value Required

Part 3: Considering Nationalism and State Machiavellianism

10 Luxemburg’s “The National Question and Antonomy” and Lenin’s Criticism
Narihiko Ito
  1 The Features of Luxemburg’s Theory on the National Question
  2 The Polish Question and Marx and Engels
  3 Luxemburg’s “The National Question and Autonomy”
   3.1 Negation of the Right of National Self-determination
   3.2 Abolition of the Nation-State
   3.3 Centralization or Local Autonomy
   3.4 Conditions of “National Autonomy”
   3.5 The Domain of “Polish Autonomy”
   3.6 Is “The National Question and Autonomy” an Unfinished Work?
  4 Lenin’s Criticism
   4.1 Lenin’s Criticism
   4.2 Nation-State vs. Autonomy
   4.3 Theoretical Differences between Lenin and Luxemburg and Historical Reality
   4.4 Luxemburg’s Theory on the National Question
 5 Epilogue

11 Marxism, Machiavellianism, and Conspiracy Theory
  1 A Limitation of Marxist Theory of the National State
  2 Marx on Louis Bonaparte’s Conspiratorial Coup
  3 Were Wars Initiated by Provocations, Prevarications, or False-Flags? Some Background
   3.1 “Spotty Lincoln” and the Mexican-American War
   3.2 The Explosion of the USS Maine and the Spanish-American War
   3.3 Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand
   3.4 Mukden or Manchurian Incident
   3.5 Reichstag Burning and the Gleiwitz Incident
   3.6 The Second Gulf of Tonkin Incident before Escalation in Vietnam
  4 “Conspiracy Theory” Becomes a Weapon of the State after the Assassination of John F. Kennedy
  5 Dismissing a Jury Trial Conviction of State Conspiracy in the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  6 Utilization of the “Conspiracy Theory” Weapon: the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001
   6.1 Alleged Muslim Hijackers
   6.2 Falling Skyscrapers
   6.3 The Pentagon
   6.4 Calls from Planes?
   6.5 Insider Trading
   6.6 September 11th and Conspiracy Theory
   6.7 Conclusion

All interested in Marx’s Capital and Engels’ editions, Marx’s relation to Hegel, to Ricardian value theory, to accumulation of capital; also, Luxemburg’s relation to Marx, Lenin’s influence, modern nationalism
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