• By The Financial District


Author Hadas Thier’s A People’s Guide to Capitalism: An Introduction to Marxist Economics has become hugely popular, wrote Danny Katch for Truthout, as hundreds of thousands of Americans have realized that the pandemic has caused a massive shift of wealth toward billionaires and corporate giants like Amazon, at the expense of workers suffering the most sudden and severe wave of unemployment and impoverishment since the Great Depression.

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Katch said the pandemic has sparked so many profound questions about economics, and Their discusses why Marx’s Capital is both highly relevant and difficult for many new readers to understand, and how she, as a woman without an economics degree, has been able to thrive in a field dominated by male academics.

“Marxism is a tool for explaining what’s at the root of these crises. It’s ultimately an exposition into how capitalism works, and what its contradictions are as a profit system based on short-term gains versus any kind of long-term, let alone humane, considerations. The fact that there were bidding wars for masks and ventilators instead of coordinated and centralized planning, the way the pharmaceutical industry is meant to be incentivized to save our lives via patents rather than any kind of humanly organized system — all of these things are based on a profit motive,” Their argued.

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“We have massive contradictions playing out, with billionaires gaining almost $2 trillion of the world’s wealth during the pandemic while millions have fallen into poverty. But, also in the positive sense, all the discussion about essential workers, as cynical as it often is, is an admission that it’s Amazon logistics workers and nurses and grocery workers and teachers that actually make the world run. So, there’s a ton being exposed right now, and there’s a deeper crisis that’s been unfolding ever since the last crisis of the world economy in 2008, which was this massive financial meltdown that was so clearly caused by capital, and then so clearly the people who paid the price for it were workers. All of those things have driven questions of class and capitalism. Millions of people were drawn into politics through Bernie Sanders’s campaign and through [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and other democratic socialists. There is now a growing and thriving and very young socialist movement that is instinctively anti-capitalist but has different levels of political experience. That’s who the book was written for, and that audience exists now in a way it didn’t just a few years ago,” Thier stressed.

“The purpose of Capital is to show that economics aren’t about numbers, stock markets and price fluctuations, but about a social relationship of exploitation.In a nutshell, the purpose of Capital — and Marx was writing at the very early stages of [capitalism’s] development — was to try to break down capitalism to understand it as a particular form of class society which has been ideologically sold to us as a [system] where the people who have the most are the people who deserve it, and that we’re all equal and rational players on an economic playing field. The purpose of Capital is to look under the surface to unpack the economic laws of motions of this system, and to show that economics aren’t about numbers, stock markets, and price fluctuations, but about a social relationship of exploitation,” she concluded.


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