From Each According To His Ability: Essays on Karl Marx and Classical Political Economy

Robert Paul Wolff, edited by Michael Hemmingsen

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Area: Philosophy

Chapters

Stage One: The Literary/Philosophical Reading of Das Kapital
Introduction
How to Read Das Kapital
Absolute Fruit and Abstract Labour: Remarks on Marx’s Use of the Concept of Inversion

Stage Two: Classical Political Economy
Introduction
Ricardo’s Principles
Piero Sraffa and the Rehabilitation of Classical Political Economy
The Analytics of the Labour Theory of Value in David Ricardo and Karl Marx

Stage Three: A Reinterpretation of Marx's Economic Theories
Introduction
A Critique and Reinterpretation of Marx’s Labour Theory of Value
R.P. Wolff’s Reinterpretation of Marx’s Labour Theory of Value: Comment by John E. Roemer
Reply to Roemer
On Robert Paul Wolff’s Transcendental Interpretation of Marx’s Labour Theory of Value by David Schweickart
A Reply to Professor Schweickart
The Rehabilitation of Karl Marx
The Resurrection of Karl Marx, Political Economist

Essays in Lieu of Stage Three
Introduction
Methodological Individualism and Marx: Some Remarks on Jon Elster, Game Theory, and Other Things
Notes for a Materialist Analysis of the Public and the Private Realms
Conclusion

The Future of Socialism


For thirty-five years, Robert Paul Wolff has been carrying on a deep study of the tradition of social and economic theory that started with the French Physiocrats and Adam Smith and was brought to its highest point of development by Karl Marx. Wolff is unique among students of the thought of Marx in his ability to address the philosophical underpinnings of Marx's thought, the formal mathematical reinterpretation of Marx's economic theories carried out in the 1960's, 70's, and 80's by economists around the world, and also the theoretical significance of the extraordinary literary style of Marx's greatest work, Capital. No other scholar has even attempted an integration of these different dimensions of Marx's writings. In these essays and papers, we see Wolff working through the several aspects of Marx's thought and bringing them into fruitful and unified conjuncture.

The volume opens with two literary/philosophical readings of Marx's writings, and then turns to the tradition of Classical Political Economy, with detailed analyses of the writings of David Ricardo and his modern interpreter, Piero Sraffa. Included here is Wolff's own original contribution to the modern mathematical reinterpretation of Marx's economic theories, together with responses to Wolff's work by two major modern Marxist thinkers, John Roemer and David Schweickart.

In the third section of the volume, Wolff offers penetrating critiques, from a Marxist perspective, of the work of Jon Elster and Hannah Arendt.

The volume concludes with a bitter-sweet essay entitled "The Future of Socialism."