The tenth annual Historical Materialism conference began today. This year’s conference title is ‘Making the World Working Class’. The conference schedule includes a plethora of different papers, with a wide array of different thinkers speaking on everything from recent activism to critical theory to Marxist feminism to the relations between race and capital. Many of the most interesting and essential recent research projects and trends in Marxist and radical theory will be represented and discussed.
Mainstream economics has not come up with any fresh ideas, or new methods of investigation after the gigantic crisis of 2008-9. Nothing has fundamentally changed, and suggestions that something is not quite right with the discipline are usually met with bafflement. The real issue, however, is not to point out the weaknesses, or the intellectual rigidity of mainstream economics, a task that has been repeatedly performed in recent decades. It is, rather, to produce analysis that is genuinely different from the mainstream, while remaining true to economics as a discipline.
In this light, the kind of economics that I find persuasive would have the following features: