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Understanding Capital: Marx's Economic Theory download epub

by Duncan K. Foley


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Duncan Foley builds an understanding of the theory systematically, from first principles through the definition of central concepts to the development of important applications.

Duncan Foley builds an understanding of the theory systematically, from first principles through the definition of central concepts to the development of important applications. Foley begins with a helpful discussion of philosophical problems readers often encounter in tackling Marx, including questions of epistemology, explanation, prediction, determinism, and dialectics.

Bibliography: p. Includes index. This book is intended to be a guide to fundamental passages in Marx's writings on economics and to the overall structure of Marx's economic ideas.

Duncan K. Foley (born June 15, 1942) is an American economist. Previously, he was Associate Professor of Economics at MIT and Stanford, and Professor of Economics at Columbia University (Barnard College and Columbia University Graduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences)

Duncan Foley builds an understanding of the theory systematically.

Duncan Foley builds an understanding of the theory systematically.

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Marx's Economic Theory. Adam's Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology - by Duncan K. Foley. Marx's Economic Theory. The development of Marx's economic theory. Marx's Theory of the Crisis. Marx's Theory of History.

Science and Society 52 (1):124-126 (1988). This article has no associated abstract. Social and Political Philosophy. categorize this paper).

Duncan Foley builds an understanding of the theory systematically, from first principles through the definition of central concepts to the development of important applications

Duncan Foley builds an understanding of the theory systematically, from first principles through the definition of central concepts to the development of important applications.

Fixing the point: the contribution of early game theory to the tool-box of modern economics.

Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Fixing the point: the contribution of early game theory to the tool-box of modern economics. Journal of Economic Methodology.

Understanding Capital is a brilliantly lucid introduction to Marxist economic theory. Duncan Foley builds an understanding of the theory systematically, from first principles through the definition of central concepts to the development of important applications. All of the topics in the three volumes of Capital are included, providing the reader with a complete view of Marxist economics.

Foley begins with a helpful discussion of philosophical problems readers often encounter in tackling Marx, including questions of epistemology, explanation, prediction, determinism, and dialectics. In an original extension of theory, he develops the often neglected concept of the circuit of capital to analyze Marx's theory of the reproduction of capital. He also takes up central problems in the capitalist economy: equalization of the rates of profit (the "transformation problem"); productive and unproductive labor and the division of surplus value; and the falling rate of profit. He concludes with a discussion of the theory of capitalist crisis and of the relation of Marx's critique of capitalism to his conception of socialism.

Through a careful treatment of the theory of money in relation to the labor theory of value, Foley clarifies the relation of prices to value and of Marx's categories of analysis to conventional business and national income accounts, enabling readers to use Marx's theory as a tool for the analysis of practical problems. The text is closely keyed throughout to the relevant chapters in Capital and includes suggestions for further reading on the topics discussed.


Comments: (7)

Berenn
First off, this is not a book to read if you want to know how Marx critiques capatalism. Sure that's touched on a little, but most of the book is devoted to pure economics, without any talk at all about how the economics comment on the way society, and capatalist firms function. The book is locked into numbers, and I'm guessing that it was meant to be used in a college course as a supplement. He says that his math is on the level of intermediate economics, and he's probably right, but don't expect him to do any explanation, he just plows on through, leaving those who aren't so lucky as to have taken up to intermediate economics courses left in the dust. No empirical analysis whatsoever, except for a calculation of the social surplus and the labor value of money. If your an economist you'll have a ball.
Mala
Alright, fine, I didn't actually finish this book, but I read enough of it to constitute adding it to my shelf (although I should really just be trading it in to a used bookstore, goddamn this vanity of mine).

Reading Marx can be challenging, at first. Reading guides to Capital Volume I, and re-reading Volume I, were paramount to by comprehending it. Thus, I felt the desire to read Foley, before tackling Volume's II and III.

Poor Foley. He simply isn't good at elucidating the abstruse. This is the second book I've read by him. The former was a popularizing of main stream economic thought. It paled in comparison to 'The Worldly Philosophers' by Heilbroner. And this book too pails in comparison to David Harvey's companion to Capital. Although Harvey's book is a companion, it can be read in isolation.

Foley is attempting to explain all three volumes of Marx's Capital in 160 pages. The first 60 pages discuss Capital Volume I, and the remaining 100 pages, the other two volumes. In regards to the first 60 pages, again, one would be better off reading all 300 pages of Harvey, or even some of the other intro and beginners guides to Capital. Somehow Foley incorporates obscure algebra in places where it ought not to exist, and he has absolutely no flair, flash, or pizazz in his writing. The book is dryer than Arizona, and you'll be bored stiff by the end of chapter 1. Marx may be a difficult writer, and he may require multiple readings, and additional sources, but at least he added in a sense of humor, dynamic explanations, and literary gusto, to much of his works.

I'd say I won't read Foley ever again, but I couldn't anyway because these are the only two books I've ever seen by him.
Cogelv
good book
Black_Hawk_Down.
Foley is the best. Clear writing style, well thought out. Will read at least a dozen times in my lifetime.
Cesar
The reviews to this book misidentify this book as an introduction to Marx's Capital. If your intention is an introduction to Marx, than David Harvey's recent book "A Companion to Marx's Capital" A Companion to Marx's Capital is very impressive.

Foley's book is "Understanding Capital." Rather than an introduction to Marx's economics, Foley's book is an elaboration of Marx's economic theory. Indeed it is an attempt to model Volume two of Marx's capital systematically. In this aim Foley's book is radically successful and indispensable reading for understanding what Marx is up to in Volume two of Capital (which is in turn based on the theoretical and historical accomplishments of Volume one, thus Foley also explains the essentials from Volume one as needed).

In desperate brevity, in Volume two of Capital, Marx assumes the conditions for a crisis-free reproduction of a monetary market-system economy (what Marx calls "capitalism"). Marx's purpose seems to be to demonstrate how impossible these conditions are; hence he is actually demonstrating the necessity of crisis in a monetary market-system economy.

Foley's intention is to model the conditions of crisis, which has to do with the temporal dimension of capital (i.e. the time difference between the moment of producing and the marketing/selling of a commodity, what Marx called the "circuits of money capital"), manifesting "disportionalities" between capital goods and consumer goods, in turn causing bottlenecks in financing/banking, which can create a general crisis, much like 2008, 1970s, 1929, 1880s, etc.

Foley's elaboration of Marxian economics remains one of the most important developments in 20th century economics and deserves a new and wide audience in the wake of the 2008 crisis.

What is important about Foley's elaboration is that even in absence of a class struggle, capitalism stills necessarily manifests general crises. This seems especially important in wake of the 2008 crisis in the U.S. Class struggle seemed to be minimized or latent at best; nonetheless, a financial crisis of Herculean proportions manifested, and would have brought down the entire economy, safe for the fact of Bush/Paulson socialism in the form of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and Obama quasi-Keynesianism in the form of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The massive inequalities between 1% and 99% simply add in a political-economic complication for the hitch-free reproduction of U.S. corporate capitalism. Capitalism is crisis-prone (with or without class struggle), Foley's model based on an elaboration of Volume two of Marx's Capital, demonstrates this.
Trex
This book is an excellent introduction to Marx's economic theories (but not his political theories). It has three main merits: (i) it is written in an extremely clear and understandable manner, (ii) it compresses most of Marx's economic ideas into a short book, and (iii) it introduces the notion of the monetary expression of labour value, which is a key concept to understanding Marx's labor theory of value. The recent renaissance on labor value theories is partly due to the author's efforts. If you think that labor value theories are nonsense, then read this -- it may change your mind. Similarly, if you are convinced of the foundational importance of labor time in understanding captialist economies (as opposed to, say, marginal utility) then you may still learn something new.
The mathematical content can be understood by anyone who can read an algebraic equation and follow some simple manipulations.
In sum, this is a book for those interested in Marx's economics, but may not want to wade through all three volumes of Capital.
Understanding Capital: Marx's Economic Theory download epub
Social Sciences
Author: Duncan K. Foley
ISBN: 0674920880
Category: Other
Subcategory: Social Sciences
Language: English
Publisher: Harvard University Press (November 23, 1986)
Pages: 200 pages