One day training workshop in Marxist Political Economy, UWE, Bristol, 21 January

IIPPE is holding its first Training Workshop in the West of England. The workshop will take place at the University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus in Bristol from 9.45am to 5pm on Wednesday 21st January 2015.

Simon Mohun will give an Introduction to Marx’s Political Economy in the morning session. The session begins with a brief outline of the method of historical materialism, and then introduces Marx’s labour theory of value in a perspective that emphasises its applicability to the contemporary world. The primary focus is an explanation of the origin of profit in a capitalist economy, which proceeds through an exploration of the distinction between labour and labour-power. This is followed by an account of how production processes are organised in the pursuit of profit. The money invested in such processes is called ‘capital’, and after exploring how capital produces profit, the talk turns to how profit produces capital in processes of reproduction and accumulation. It concludes with a discussion of how these processes affect the conditions of existence of the working class and opens the question of what determines standards of living.

The talk is suitable both for those with no background knowledge of Marx’s political economy and for those who wish to refresh their knowledge.

The Afternoon session will be given by Ben Fine and is titled, ‘Why Do We Consume What We Consume and What Does It Matter: From Value of Labour Power to Systems of Provision, Or Is It the Other Way Around?’ The study of, and attention to, consumption over the past thirty years has experienced explosive growth across the social sciences, with the major exception of economics whose principles for understanding consumption have essentially remained the same since the marginalist revolution of the 1870s. Significantly, mainstream economics has been untouched by postmodernism which, no doubt alongside elusive notions of consumerism and consumer society, has been responsible for inspiring the attention to consumption and focused upon the meanings of the consumed to the consumer. How, then, are we to understand the variety in what is consumed and what it means to the consumers across different contexts, quite apart from the cascade of insights offered by consumer studies? And what role can political economy play in the study of consumption? An answer will be given in terms of a material culture of consumption in which the determinants and meanings of consumption will be addressed through an exploration of the systems of provision approach. It examines the provision and culture of objects of consumption as specific to those objects themselves as well as intimately related to one another. In addition, the approach allows for refinement in the understanding of the value of labour power as far as its “moral and historical” determinants are concerned, and for an understanding of the strengths and limitations of consumer politics.

As ever, we seek an audience of undergraduate and postgraduate students, junior academics and activists, who have a particular interest in acquainting themselves both with some of the basic principles of Marxian political economy and its controversies, and with the relevance of Marxian political economy to the contemporary world.

There is no charge for attending the workshop. Unfortunately, no refreshments will be provided but can be purchased at one of the many catering sites on campus.

For more information about past training workshops, visit www.iippe.org

If you wish to apply to attend this workshop, please send a note to that effect, before Tuesday 13th January with your name and occupation/affiliation, to Serap Saritas: 548340@soas.ac.uk

 

 


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