12. The Marxian Failure and Legacy

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Moral Foundations of Politics (PLSC 118)

We previously established that the reality of scarcity invalidates Marx's core idea of superabundance, and mortally wounds his theory. Certainly, his historical predictions about worker-led socialist revolutions around the world were off-mark. Today, Professor Shapiro presents more of the shortcomings of the Marxian tradition. These include Marx's failure to account for the ability of the state to buttress capitalism and stave off the conditions needed for its self-destruction, the lack of a declining tendency in the economy-wide rate of profit, and the incoherence of a labor theory of value. It becomes clear that the Marxian theory is riddled with holes. However, Marx does leave two important legacies in his wake: a good critique of markets as distributors of either good or harms in society, and a power-based argument about freedom.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: Failures of Marxism
05:01 - Chapter 2. Failures of Marxism: Macro Theory
21:52 - Chapter 3. Failures of Marxism: Micro Theory

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Spring 2010.