Why do people often say that economics discredit Marx's ideas? Is their any bit of this argument that is true? How do I into economics and what should I read to start out?

Other urls found in this thread: International AS and A Level Economics.pdf

You should probably read some basic economy book so you can get a general idea about economics. Later just read Marx, I would recommend starting with Wage, Labor&Capital and Value, Price and Profit, after that read the bible of Marxism- das Kapital. Remember to take your time, don't rush through books, make notes and be sure you understand everything. If you find something too complex, feel free to ask questions on leftypol.

Would any econ 101 textbook do for the "basic economy book"?

Basic economics is just what liberals call neoclassical economics

"Basic Economics" means "agreeing with the liberal dogma that the free market is the best"

first PDF very easy and quick introduction (not even 20 pages long)
Second PDF a more serious introduction, but still relatively brief (60 pages)
After those I suggest reading wage, labour and capital, which is probably the most approachable work of Marx.

For fucks sake, I had the reading list the OP was just looking for, I can't find it anywhere. It's the one that starts with a Ha Joon Chang book, does anyone have it?


Because they haven't actually read Marx, usually.
(They often haven't read any economics either.)
There are further arguments, questions about what Marx "really meant", and so on, but most people who say bluntly "Basic Economics discredits Marx xD" know nothing about anything.

It might bore you, but it's the best option probably.
Personally I'd recommend just focusing on the history of economic ideas, etc, and glossing over the actual dry theory to a greater degree. (Since I presume you have little need to actually 'do economics') That's a very, very unstructured approach though.

Thanks gomrade, l'll check these out.

I should probably also mention that I'm not new to leftist theory, just leftist economics in the strict sense. Somehow after 5 years of being involved with the radical left, I have read everything around Marx (Engels, Proudhon, Bakunin, etc) but never a word of Marx himself aside from the memifesto.

What do you mean by 'do economics'?

Don't worry you're not the only one. We are taught from a young age that economics is complicated and too hard to understand after all. It's not a surprise we are not that willing to look into it.
And you're welcome konrad.

I'm assuming you're not wanting to sit down and try to compute things using models and mathematics like a "real economist" who gets paid to do it, and just want a general understanding of how the pieces go together.
(i.e. "in a [demand side] recession, the state should spend more to boost demand" rather than "in the present recession, the UK Government should spend between [x] and [y] amount more, any less than [x] will have little impact on demand, and any more than [y] could be inflationary…")

Although I dunno, maybe actually doing some ad-hoc calculations could be fun if you're more mathematically inclined than I am. I tried to find a real monster of a formula to use as a picture here but I'm not having much luck.

Liberals deeply desire to move beyond ideology in some way, but they don't do this by critiquing their ideological assumptions, but by trying to pass off their ideological assumptions as objective scientific fact.

Therefore, they treat neoclassical economics, not as a highly ideological project, but as a hard science and consequently an unquestionable dogma.

While I agree with notion that most of basic economic books will spew neoliberal, bourgeoisie propaganda, praising free market and things related to it, I think they are still worth a try. Through basic economics you can learn about supply and demand, different economic schools, history of economic thought etc.
You can't really make a good critique of a neoliberal economics if you don't know what are it's main commandments and beliefs.

I'd eschew the phrase basic economics, although I agree with you.
There's value in learning the outlines of actual mainstream economics, but a lot of books that brand themselves as being 'basic economics' skew to the right of the mainstream.

Most neoliberal economists float around the New ""Keynesian"" area, adopting a lot of neoclassical assumptions but still making some concessions to reality. The interesting thing is that in mainstream economic terms, for example, it's recognized that the European austerity programs are stupid. That's a political decision that runs contrary to "the evidence". But if you get a really vulgar 'basic economics' textbook, you'll be given a bunch of microeconomic stuff (i.e. here's how supply and demand works in the bread market, see how taxes mean starvation and suffering?) that lends itself easily to a fallacy of composition. ("see, it's rational for you to spend less in a recession - and so everyone, even the government should cut spending!")

That is perhaps an interesting area of breakdown. In the high dreams of the neoliberal economist, austerity was a poor decision (albeit one highly slowed after 2012) but the neoliberal politician has continued to drift rightwards. Understanding that nuance is quite useful, although it really muddles things.

Do you know of any introductory economics books that aren't too ideological?

I haven't actually done more than skim this particular one (first PDF i found), but for a gloss on mainstream ideas without drowning in mathematics A/AS level school textbooks are usually alright (if always slightly patronizing feeling): International AS and A Level Economics.pdf
They've also got a lot of microeconomic stuff (as the class is just "economics"), but given it's within a structured school framework that would seem to be a bonus rather than a disadvantage. (The two are clearly separated to stop students getting confused.)

strange times indeed

That's easy. I just bring up how economics is made up bullshit not a science.

Richard Wolff's book "contending economic theories" is good enough. I wouldn't recommend going much further into bourgeois economics because it's just apologia and idealism.

Just read Capital Vol. 1.

It's really not that difficult to understand, though it is quite large. In fact, oftentimes it feels as if Marx goes into TOO MUCH detail in Capital, clarifying things in laborious detail you already see as obvious (the pages on the relative and equivalent form are one of the most obvious examples, in which he basically explains basic, obvious mathematics more than anything). So don't worry about missing something important; Marx goes to great pains to ensure you don't.

Still, Capital is an ACCESSIBLE book. Don't be put off by its size or age; it is fairly easy to read!

Thanks, comrade! ^_^

Idk, this kind of argument always makes me anxious. Reminds me of when Holla Forums calls peer reviewed biology "j00ish propaganda". I'd like to be able to understand economics in some way that is more nuanced than "it's bs/shill/fake"

Is there anything you think is worth salvaging from mainstream/bourgeois economics?

Only one way then, actually reading thoses and coming up with your own opinion.
From second hand accounts you will always have ideological lens deformation.

Well technically speaking economics is "bullshit" in the sense that they are not hard science. In other words there is no way to systematically apply the scientific method to economic theories. Not to mention that modern economic theories are used to justify the current situation, rather than create models to accurately represent reality. In many ways the economists of today are the new priests (pic related).
That said there is still a lot of good, pragmatic knowledge in it, I am not trying to argue against the discipline, only its modern incarnation.

Is the original quote from Debord or am i mistaking?

It's an entirely different kind of economics based upon fundamentally different assumptions. I don't agree with the assumptions (mainly Humanist assumptions, whereas Marxism (and Keynesianism) operates on structuralism.)

Yep. From the comments on "The society of the spectacle". Full quote:

This is actually what turned me off from reading too heavily about economics in the first place. What little I had read seemed like extreme mental gymnastics and statistical contortion to make the real world fit their ideological notion of capitalism

How do you think economics be reformed as a field of study?

I'm not an economist or a student of economy, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but what I think the biggest issue is the complacency of the field.
Economics is in a certain sense a victim of the current sociopolitical equilibrium. The capitalists of today do not have the luxury of the aristocracy of having a religious apparatus ready to justify their domination to the proles. They do not have a moral structure to pose their power base either. Economics result useful to compensate for this.

Aside from the obvious issues the direct result of this is the fossilization of all discourse around the field. If the purpose of your existence is to justify the current hierarchical structure you don't have the luxury of radically question your theories. Too much of the economic discourse appears dogmatic because it has become so in order to satisfy its assigned role.

A consequence of this is a partial dogmatization of the competition unfortunately. Without confronting theories there is little progress and the gridlock preventing mainstream economic theories to progress is affecting also Marxist theories. We are often accused of being stuck in the last century, but that's because neoliberal theories are as well.

Fortunately there is some change. People like Cockshott for example, love it or not, are bringing some new ideas to the table. Nothing revolutionary, but enough to get the old gears turning a bit.

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than me can offer some better insight.

Something you need to keep in mind OP is that economics is by no means a hard science like the porkies want you to think. It’s a social science like psychology or sociology. Claiming that any economic school of thought is the only one with merit is like reducing all of psychology to Freudian psychoanalysis. This goes for Marxist economics as well.

Basic Economics is usually brought up when people show skepticism about the market tendency to return to equilibrium

basic economics tells that price mechanism ensures that in the end supply would meet demand
so we should never interfere with this timeless divine mechanism

but of course it assumes that firms are price takers not price makers, which is nonsense

That’s seems pretty stupid on the face of it, it defines demand based on who can afford a product, not who wants or needs it. I mean if blight came and crippled wheat production, and 90% of the population couldn’t afford bread, would the porky economists say “see everything’s okay demand is being met”?

Because they don't understand economics or Marx, because discrediting Marx would mean discrediting Adam Smith.

Well, to be fare direct experience doesn't eliminate ideological lens deformation, but it does tend to diminish it.

How so? They both define labor value differently.

They both define a mostly objective theory of value, while mainstream economics believes in an entirely subjective theory of value.

I think this meme is primarily an American thing, because learning "basic economics" in high school was the decisive thing that made me turn left.
Maybe my teachers were more Keynesian than the apologists of the latest economic policies you can find in newspapers, but they seemed to express some skepticism toward the austerity measures of the time (~2008) like said, and the concept of an invisible hand producing the best outcomes in every case sounded like a scam to me.

100% yes, I've read Mankiw's Principles of Economics and it is much better than Sowell's Basic Economics
Mankiw still talks to you as if you were a retard and in general it is full of market apologist arrogance
but at least his book is well structured and detailed enough
pretty good mirror into a mind of a mainstream economist, sidenotes are especially tasty

Since this is an econ thread, what is /leftpol/'s thoughts on Steve Keen and post Keyenes school? I've seen some praise but obliviously he isn't a Marxian.

I was just gonna mention Steve Keen. I was an econ student and he redpilled me (although I already had doubts). I haven't studied his post-Keynesian contributions in any detail, I know he is critical of Marxian economics. But for someone new to economics I would recommend an intermediate econ textbook like Varian, then read Steve Keen's debunking economics and I think they'll have a solid understanding of what neoclassical economics is and what's wrong with it. If they're more mathematically inclined they could try cracking open a grad level econ textbook (again Varian, or Mas-Collel) for a deeper understanding of what Keen is critiquing.

Go with Hal Varian, not neoliberal shill Mankiw and conservative libertarian shill Sowell. Varian may also be capitalist but at least is pretty neutral and professional about it.

Ha-Joon Chang's Economics: A User's Guide is excellent because he lays out """basic economics""" whilst also being quite critical of neolib dogma.