As noted here, marxists often adopt the wrong the strategy: we are constantly being told that Marx is relevant, and then taken through the complexities of marxist theory, and expositions of Capital. That is fine, up to a point. But the result ironically is that the public is confronted with marxist theories, and hence all their flaws. Nineteenth century classical concepts used by Marx are sent into battle, as neo-classicals simply shrug their shoulders. All the defenders of capitalism have to do is pick holes in Marx. Their own errors get off scot-free. This situation is repeated over and over again by leftists. The discussion is always about the status of Marx’s theories. The status of Marx’s historical materialism, and the labyrinth of his confused masterwork Capital, plus the concepts of classical economists, aren’t really relevant at this point. A direct attack on marginalist economics would do far better. People with IQ’s of 140+ pressed into the defense of capitalism have a fatal flaw, out in the open. They can’t change their story, because the fallacy is documented in endless public media. A little training in their bullshit routines when they are challenged, could finish the preparation for slaying the theory dragon once and for all. They are smart, facile, but don’t understand their weak point, or their own subject.
The correction is very simple: forget Marx’s theories, use Marx/Engels as historical leadup, citing their superb general critiques of capitalism without theory, or put them aside for a moment: modern neo-classical economics should be the target. It is preposterous absurdity that is just beyond the reach of non-speciliasts, and therefore a permanent snowjob. But it is a flawed set of confusions that are right out in the open. The book cited, Economics Unmasked, is a good description, and simple english, of the whole marginalist regime. There is not much to refute: the whole game is ridiculous seen in perspective, not derisible mostly because trained specialists themselves are taken in, which is puzzling, but effective propaganda. The flaws in this economics utopia of theory lie in their parody of mechanics (physics) and the way they refer to an unreal world. The ‘utopian’ ‘Nowhere’ critique applies overwhelmingly to capitalists and their pseudo-science of economics. Neo-classical economics does not refer to the real world. Its assumptions are a joke. These theories have no basis in reality, but are effective because they exploit the Newton mystique. The utility concepts inherited from Bentham era utilitarianism are used as substitute plugins to the equations (e.g. the Lagrangian) of classical mechanics. The result doesn’t seem off because noone has the training to see through the charade. The question remains, why are so many intelligent economists unable to snap out of this? The answer is easy: smart people can be inducted into the ranks of true believers by excelling at the technicalities of the math, thinking they are doing economics in the form of mechanics. Distracted by their mathematical facility they are operant/conditioned by A+ pats on the back all the way to professional lunacy, none the wiser.
This is an overwhelming vulnerability of the ideological exploitation of capitalism. And the evidence is there in granite. Decades of documented citations of these errors/lies/ await the exposure by leftist critics.
Instead of trying to master Marx’s discussions of labor theory, etc, inherited from classical economics, critics should make current marginalism the target. Marxists always vainly attempt to decode Marx and hence classical theory, and all its own errors, picked up by Marx in his descent of the Smithian legacy, which neo-classical economists ditched with a laugh at almost the moment Marx produced his magnum opus (which he couldn’t finish, because his master theory didn’t really work). That approach has coached the world in Marx’s errors.
Like the Titanic, frozen in time in the moments before striking the iceberg, neo-classical economics persists in a realm of higher idiocy because it is just beyond the public’s grasp. That is misleading, since the fallacies don’t require any real insight to expose: they are complete jokes perpetrated on on those with stars in their eyes as they gaze on Newton, and the ludicrous application of his theories to economic behavior.
The critique of capitalism is thus gifted with a direct and overwhelming expose of a fraud, one that is used to exploit economic categories as lawful obligations of nature. The critics of capitalism thus have a handle on the jugular in the challenge to capitalism.