Quite Possibly the Best Capsule Summary of the Critique of Political Economy (As Opposed to Economics)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

From the introduction to Isaak Illich Rubin’s Essays on Marx’s Theory of Value:

Political economy does not analyze the material-technical aspect of the capitalist process of production, but its social form, i.e., the totality of production relations which make up the “economic structure” of capitalism. … This distinction at the same time defines the method of political economy as a social and historical science. In the variegated and diversified chaos of economic life which represents a combination of social relations and technical methods, this distinction also directs our attention precisely to those social relations among people in the process of production, to those production relations, for which the production technology serves as an assumption or basis. Political economy is not a science of the relations of things to things, as was thought by vulgar economists, nor of the relations of people to things, as was asserted by the theory of marginal utility, but of the relations of people to people in the process of production.


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