Sunday, August 20, 2006
The structure of the Grundrisse
* The "Introduction to a Critique of Political Economy", which is a discussion of the method of investigation and presentation which Marx thinks he should use. This, though Marx never published it, and though it is only 28 pages, is the longest discussion of the famous issue of "the Marxist method" which Marx ever wrote.
* A "Chapter on Money", which is geared around a critical demolition of the ideas of the school of socialist thought associated with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. "Proudhonism" was by far the strongest trend of socialism in Europe at the time Marx was writing - much stronger than Marxism. Its idea was to manipulate the economic relations of a society based on money and trade so it would become an ideally equal system of cooperatives, trading with each other, and enjoying free credit.
* A "Chapter on Capital", which includes Marx's discussions of the very long-term tendencies of capitalism (but also much else);
* A section on "Bastiat and Carey". These were economists of Marx's day - Bastiat a free-trader, Carey a protectionist. Marx's demolition of both their views is highly relevant to political debates today about free-trade globalisation and protectionist responses.