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/edu/ - Education

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I've been reading a lot about classical economics, or classically-trained economists (mostly cause I live in a small town and my local library only has capital and i feel im not ready yet for that). How much classical or "mainstream" economics should I read before getting into marx and marxist theory proper?
I should mention Im only doing this in the first place cause I'm a literal brainlet when it comes to economics so I'm trying to learn basic economic concepts in order to build on later with the marxism.

Also when it comes to philosophy, should it go plato-→aristotle-→hegel–→marx? Or should I add a few more or maybe skip some? pic unrelated


I'd prioritize reading whatever interests you.
You can get into capital after some short reading, like "Wage Labor and Capital", "Value, Price, and Profit", and I'd recommend "Reading Capital Politically" by Harry Cleaver (just skip the intro, which is half of the 100 page book).
After that you're more than prepared to start reading Capital.

You don't need Hegel, Aristotle, or Plato to understand Marx. As for classical economics, Marx footnotes the fuck out of his sources, so I don't think you need much to start on that front either. If you're interested about the original sources, you can look them up. All of Wealth of Nations is online, for example.

And finally, if you're already reading "a lot", you're more than ready to start Capital.

But, seriously just read whatever seems interesting. I had a lot of fun reading Plato (even if I didn't read that much). Haven't read any Aristotle. Fuck Hegel lol, tried reading but it was too dense.


Hmm, so what would you say is the Marxist position on classical or bourgeois economics? Is it just relevant in as much as it informed Marx's view on things? Is every nonmarxist economist post-Marx to be considered a meme?


From what I gather (not an expert),
Pre and contemporary economists of Marx were rather close to Marx's economic writings. A lot of Adam Smith's and David Ricardo's ideas are just ported over and expanded. He shat on a lot of his contemporaries for various reasons, I think most of those you can find in theories of surplus value aka Capital Volume 4.

In general, if I were serious about understanding economics, I'd read Smith, Ricardo, Say, and other economists besides Marx, as well as Keynes and other post-Keynesians, for example, Michel Kalecki, and even those that tried to port Marxist economics to chartalism (or vice versa). I'd also read the MMT people, which are part of the chartalism school. All of these economists have become part of "heterodox economics".

Mainstream economics is basically synonymous to neoclassical economics and the bastardizations/ugly chimeras with heterodox schools. The foundational writings and writers are absolute trash. A lot of the theory seems to part from impartial or shitty axioms, or moral imperatives, and then produce a lot of theory to cope for the failings and inconsistencies of their theory. I'd say skip this part. If you want a tl;dr, I've heard the "Basic Economics" by Thomas Sowell is a good start. Since this is mainstream economics, a lot of the concepts are probably familiar with you. I got taught a course of mainstream economics in high school, for example.

As for what a Marxist's position would be? I'd think it is a pretty standard view to see Marx as the "culmination" of classical economics. And that neoclassical economics is trash. Beware though, Marx had a very sharp tongue and relentlessly criticized everything, even when the theory he is criticizing shaped his understanding about a subject matter.

As for non-marxist economists post-Marx, I'd say most of the criticism is against whatever is contemporary mainstream at that time. J is for Junk Economics for example, is a critique of contemporary neoclassical economics (I think, haven't read it).
Some economists are not marxist, but were directly influenced by Marx, such as Michel Kalecki, or Steve Keen (and other MMT folk). From what I've seen, Marxists seem to at least be tolerant to the MMT and post-keynesian theorists.

Although heated debate surely exists.
For example, Michael Roberts is a Marxist and has Steve Keen (an MMTer) linked on his blog:
And this series of articles on MMT seems to indicate he is sympathetic but mostly disagrees:


Depends how smart you are. Capital is pretty easy (the language of the first chapter is quite difficult though. Honestly just skip it and come back later), if you have read any classical economics go for capital right now.

If you want the most basic Marx reading I'd recommend Critique of the Gotha program, as it's very basic and easy to read. In general I find Engels/Lenin is easier to digest. To understand the philosophical background, I recommend this short read

After this and the first 2 books the other guy recommend, I think you would be more than ready to read Capital.

But it does depend on the angle you're going for, if you're interested in philosophy, definitely read Hegel. However if you're interested in economics, as it seems, I would deem Hegel a waste of your time right now and just read the link I sent. From philosophy you need to be well acquainted with these terms though as a Marxist (start from the link I sent)


thanks for effortposts comrades


In regards to philosophy, I'm a layman myself, but please don't start with the Greeks it's a meme. They are not relevant anymore the few things that are relevant get repeated and explained by modern philosophers enough. Start with the young Hegelian: Marx, Engels, Feuerbach and Stirner. And from there on you can read whatever you like. A personal recommendation from me would be the early Frankfurt school and Bakunin, but it's just what I enjoy the most.


Read Smith, then Capital. Nothing else is needed IMO.


I asked this on /leftypol/ but I think I'll get an answer here:

Is there a consensus on which English translation of Capital is best? I have a paper version of the Moore and Aveling translation but I'm considering getting a different one (Fowkes I guess), since this one is too bulky and I've heard about quite a few translation errors in it. Is it worth being picky over the mistranslations? I'm just worried that I'll fail to notice the errors and then pick up a wrong interpretation of Marx.

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