My Marx course takes a sharp turn tomorrow, from the free-wheeling excitement of the Manifesto to the details of the dismal science. For the next five hours [two classes], I shall be talking about the modern mathematical interpretation of classical Political Economy, from the Physiocrats, through Adam Smith, to David Ricardo. The students are to read the first three chapters of my book Understanding Marx, in which I expound and interpret that mathematical reinterpretation using nothing more than high school algebra. I have prepared a series of charts and tables and equations which I shall attempt to project onto a big TV screen in the classroom, using a USB cable and control already there. Since it has been almost a quarter of a century since I did serious teaching, all of this technology is totally new to me, but I shall rely on my students to guide me.
Three weeks from now, the course will take another abrupt turn as we finally open Capital to the first page and tackle the famous, and famously mysterious, first chapter. With that chapter, to which I plan to devote two entire two and a half hour classes, I ask them to read my little book, Moneybags Must Be So Lucky.
I have no idea what the students are making of this very strange course, but I am enjoying teaching it more than I have enjoyed any teaching experience in at least forty years, and maybe as much as fifty-four years [when I first taught the Critique of Pure Reason.]
Wish me luck!