Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."




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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

THEY JUST KEEP COMING!

Here it is, the third lecture on the Thought of Karl Marx.  If I can keep the masses coming back after this one, I am home free.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I may not be the masses, but let me say that those equations did not scare me away. In fact I was more intrigued by the lecture and also a bit jaded as my day job is doing feasibility analysis of large scale linear equations. This past week I was asked to see how we could implement a square matrix for 1 million unknowns. Compare that with 500 equations that Leontief had to model.

Anyway I find it amusing to see all the math symbols economists throw around for effect. But they are not half as bad as the statisticians.

Great lecture as always. If you do get a chance to revisit David Ricardo at any future stage, I would like to know specifically in your words what exactly Ricardo did not "not solve" or did not "find a solution" to. That was not clear in your lecture while you were flipping the charts with the equations.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Oh dear. I will start next lecture with a clarification. The problem was that his theory only worked for economies in which each sphere of production uses the same ratio of direct to embodied labor. this is what Marx called "equal organic composition of capital." In general, this is of course not true. Some industries are labor intensive and some are capital intensive. Is that clearer?

LFC said...

A brief note on theft or plunder as a way of getting the surplus: When the Vikings stole crops, it seems to me that, at least much of the time, they would have had no way of being sure whether they were stealing surplus, or subsistence, or both -- nor would they have much cared. So, strictly speaking, that's not theft of the surplus; it's just theft, period.

True, it may well have the effect of appropriating the surplus, but since the Vikings presumably didn't care whether the particular peasants they were stealing from lived or died, they could have stolen their subsistence as well. Plunderers don't have a direct interest in ensuring that there is enough subsistence left to maintain life; they just assume that somehow or other the society they are plundering will continue to exist and continue to produce crops that they can steal. And in the unlikely event that the whole society dies -- or in the more likely event that there are massive crop failures one year -- the plunderers will simply move on to the next society.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Quite true, the Viking example was just, in the words of Pooh Bah in The Mikado, "corrobative detail designed to lend artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative." Oh well.

Anonymous said...

"In general, this is of course not true. Some industries are labor intensive and some are capital intensive. Is that clearer?"

Yes, yes very clear. Thanks.

I got confused between the three variabilities: "ratio of direct to embodied labor", "intensity of capital", and turnaround time (my words) where you mentioned wine-making and the pricing must account for the longer time needed for some capital investments.

If not for your guidance, I'd have never ventured into this thicket. Thanks again.

Jordan said...

Enjoying these lectures, as I have the ones before on Kant and Freud.

By the way, I was curious as to why your Kant lectures were so much more popular than the Freud ones, and these on Marx, at least so far. Normally one would expect Freud and Marx to be a hotter ticket than Kant. And it appears that part of the explanation may be this (actually fairly funny) comic, in which your lectures are mentioned at the end: http://existentialcomics.com/comic/162 . I hope you'll forgive the author of the comic for some jokes about your age, especially since he (rightly) says your lecture series is "great." Maybe you knew about this already, but just in case you didn't, here it is.

Jordan said...

P.S. One wonders if the Kant in the comic had his table of categories printed up at Staples, too ;)

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Hey, Jordan, thanks for the link, which I knew nothing about. if I could get Sheldon Cooper to give me a nod on THE BIG BANG THEORY I could retire. [Oh, I am retired.] As the old saying goes, I don't care what they say about me so long as they spell my name right.

s. wallerstein said...

Thank you.

The math was not as fearsome as I anticipated. I got the general idea, I hope, of what you were getting at.

I only pray that you stress the first two lectures, not this one, on the final exam.