On Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and blog updates

We’re still waiting for a few external things before the Brand!  New! blog and homepage come to exist.  Meanwhile, I’m about ready to declare myself done with The Wealth of Nations. While I still have several chapter to comment on, I have read them, and they do not concern aspects of political economy that interest me.  Plus, at the moment, I seem to have hid the book.

I’m now reading Capital, by Marx, which Smith’s work proved a really good introduction to.  I am tempted to do the annotation with it as I did with Smith, because writing that helped me bring a lot of  it into focus, and because all of you Smart People gave me good perspective on the stuff I didn’t understand.  But I also know that there are those who find these posts irritating, and feel they take up too much space (especially when they’re reposted on LJ, without a cut).

So, just like the revisionist who claims to lead when in fact he is following, I ask: Who wants me to take on Capital in public, and who would rather I let sleeping surplus-value lie?

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Site administrative account, so probably Corwin, Felix or DD-B.

0 thoughts on “On Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and blog updates”

  1. I’ve been reading them, even though I haven’t been commenting. Please continue, I may even dredge up my copy and follow along.

  2. I say yes. I followed all your posts on “tWoN” and would be interested on your musings on “Capital”.

  3. Yes, please. I’ve been thinking of re-reading Marx of late, given both the state of the nation and the state of national rhetoric.

  4. It’s your blog.. write it how you want to! Seriously, it’s not like it takes effort to not read something. :)

  5. Erm, don’t the complainers have enuf Free Will to do something else than read & be irritated? I personally just skimmed [or skipped] the WoN posts, but as Brad says, “It’s your blog” & “not like it takes effort to not read something.” My vote would be yes for annotating Das Capital.
    Especially as it should help you understand, and profit by others’ comments on, D C as on TWoN.

  6. Also, Althusser suggested the following:

    “I would also advise readers of Capital to precede their study of Marx’s master work by reading the two following little books which serve as an excellent introduction.
    “1. Wage Labour and Capital (1847) by Marx.
    “2. On ‘Capital’ by Engels, which outlines the essential ideas contained in Volume I admirably.

    “I will sum up my advice as to how to read Capital, as follows:

    “1. Leave Part I, to begin with.
    “2. Begin with Part II.
    “3. Read Parts II, III, IV, VII and VIII, with the greatest attention. (Leave Part V for later reading.)
    “4. Then try to read Part I by itself knowing that it is extremely difficult and requires much detailed explanation”

  7. stickyboy: I would substitute “Value, Price, and Profit (1865)” for “Wage Labour and Capital.” In 1847 Marx was not, so to speak, a Marxist; the fundamental concept of labor-power as distinct from labor was still in the future.

  8. I think generally I can agree with that. Althusser (I think rightly) saw considerable value in describing Marx’s journey toward theories that were less bound up in Hegelianism, starting with what he saw as a major shift in his thinking around the mid 1800s, which I think is why he makes that recommendation. I actually wish I’d limited the scope of my first readings to more static slices of Marx’s philosophy, it might have confused me less :-)

  9. Public if you please… gives me the wherewithal to argue with my socialist partner ;-)

  10. I always find the perspective of knowledgeable others useful and interesting. I often don’t agree entirely, but almost always find it interesting. Keep going!

  11. Public, please. I also suggest you write as much and as freely as you please, and assume your readers for it have not followed your blog, because a book of Steve Brust Reads Capital could be fun to assemble when you’re done. If nothing else, it’d be cool from Lulu.

  12. By all means, post away.

    I admit that I really only skimmed occasional bits of your posts on your previous reading, but knowing what you read and how you think about it is fascinating to me for the light it sheds on what you write and how you write it.

    I may not have anything at all to say about it, but if it helps your reading then of course you should post here.

  13. Another lurker here enjoying the posts who’d like you to go on! I rarely comment on them because I don’t bring much new to the conversation, but your insights have beaten the heck out of what I got from the academic staff while getting my MBA. If you ever get tired of writing (Verra Forbid!), you’d make a good teacher.

  14. If in point of fact the author enjoys pontificating the sundry musings of economists, and pretends that the reader might be offended at the copious examples of wordsmithing, let him reflect that his audience has at close hand a device known in common parlance as a “mouse”. That is to say, the author should continue his chosen profession and leave the kibitzing, whining and reading to the consumer…

  15. Isnt reading these authors a bit like like reading the instructions to a BETA player to learn how to operate a Bluray? Those who dont “do”, read. I cant help but feel you’re more into the idea of having read these authors than actively being involved in what they are talking about. Walk the talk, Steve.

  16. I too would very much like for you to post your thoughts on Capital as you read it. I will confess, in the interest of full disclosure, that I began reading every one of the posts you wrote about Adam Smith’s opus. About half the time I’d gallop through to the end; the other half, I bogged down almost immediately and skipped them. I’m smarter than I was before, though!


  17. Among the available fences and warnings, there surely is something easy to enable the uninterested to skip on over. I see “Adult Warning”s on lj more often than actual adult content, for instance.
    If nothing else, simply using some sort of standard prefix for the topic would group those posts some might wish to avoid.
    — this is in the context of the outer question of and audience for your blogged thoughts having already been answered (i.e., “Bring it on!”)

  18. I don’t agree that socialism is the answer that it pretends to be, in the least. However, as was mentioned, my mouse works well enough that I am able to find the content from this blog that I am looking for simply by rolling the dial on it.

  19. Add one vote for posting your comments on Marx. And I read via LiveJournal, and don’t care about the lack of cut.

  20. Oh, this makes me so sad! Soon before he passed away, I asked my mentor (who introduced me to Marxist criticism and theory, as well as Kim Stanley Robinson and Philip K. Dick, and William Gibson from a Marxist perspective), if he’d read any Steven Brust.
    He replied he didn’t have time for reading for fun. I told him Brust was a Trotskyist and infused much of his later books with Marxist theory. He grabbed a pen and said “What was that name again?”
    I’d give anything to hear what he’d have to say about this annotation of CAPITAL. :(
    Please, do post on!!

  21. Absolutely, post it. Those who are interested can read and those who are not can skip it. It seems odd that people would complain about your posts on TWoN – its your blog.

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