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Dick Bryan, Navigating in a Fog: Plotting a Marxist Political Economy

by Adam David Morton on April 17, 2016

The Department of Political Economy recently hosted a lecture by Professor Dick Bryan to celebrate his outstanding contributions to political economy.

The lecture, entitled Navigating in a Fog: Plotting a Marxist Political Economy, results from his retirement from the University of Sydney. A short synopsis of the lecture (provided by Dick) follows along with a video of the actual lecture.

In the 1980s Marxian economics entered a fog. Perhaps the fog came from the end of the long boom, or the demise of manufacturing as the ‘model’ of advanced capitalism, or the fall of the Soviet Union. But the fog has remained. Capitalism keeps evolving, while I see that Marxian economics stays still. It keeps asserting its old taxonomies and modes of analysis and its old conclusions even though a materialist method would require that analytical categories adapt to changing circumstances.

I think Marxian political economy now appears too readily as dogmatic value theory or it has vacated the domain of value theory, finding purpose in ideological and moral critiques of capital.

Yet political economy needs to engage Value. So the requirement is to re-think value theory so as to analytically engage capital at its frontier of development – it’s liquidity and fungibility – and to explore the contradictions produced at this frontier.

This talk is an engagement with that project.


Adam David Morton
Adam David Morton is Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He is author of Unravelling Gramsci: Hegemony and Passive Revolution in the Global Political Economy (2007); Revolution and State in Modern Mexico: The Political Economy of Uneven Development (2011), recipient of the 2012 Book Prize of the British International Studies Association (BISA) International Political Economy Group (IPEG); and co-author of Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis (2018) with Andreas Bieler. He co-edits Progress in Political Economy (PPE) with Gareth Bryant that was the recipient of the 2017 International Studies Association (ISA) Online Media Caucus Award for the Best Blog (Group) and the 2018 International Studies Association (ISA) Online Media Caucus Award for Special Achievement in International Studies Online Media.
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  • Chris Jefferis
    April 17, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    So happy to be able to watch this lecture belatedly. Some very good points and bad, but funny, jokes. Thanks to Dick for all of the inspiration and insight over the years!

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