What I am reading – Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises

The book, simply entitled ‘Capitalism’, is Professor Anwar Shaikh’s magnum opus, published this year. Shaikh is an economist working in the classical tradition of Smith, Ricardo and Marx, although he draws on others including Keynes, Kalecki and Sraffa.

He uses the book to critique both mainstream neoclassical economics, as well as much of the heterodox tradition and to construct a thorough analysis of the political economy of capitalism. I am about halfway through so far and it makes hugely compelling and informative reading.

Here is an interview with Shaikh by Marshall Auerback of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), which is well worth a look.

The book contains a wealth of empirical evidence which is used to back up the theoretical discussion. Once I have finished it, I will aim to post on some of the content.

There is a series of lectures on youtube, covering the ideas contained in Capitalism, delivered by the author at the New School for Social Research. I have found these to be a very helpful companion.

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2 thoughts on “What I am reading – Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises

  1. Thanks for the hint. I have watched the interview (which I did not find particularly inspiring). However, I then went on to watch lecture 18 which did strike me as excellent. Thanks for drawing my attention to what promises to be an excellent source; I may be tempted to purchase the book.

    • No problem. I think what makes the book stand out so far is the wealth of empirical evidence, which contrasts with other works. There is plenty of theory but it is tested against reality. And where it gets quite technical in terms of the maths, the lectures can be a great help. There are also extensive appendices which list sources and illustrate some of the ideas more formally, but so far I have skipped them.

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