on 8 June 2013
This 3 CD - disc box set is a volume contained in the 'Great Economic Thinkers' series, which is itself contained within 'The Audio Classics Series'. This presentation assesses Karl Marx's economic treatise entitled (in German) 'Das Kapital' (i.e. 'The Capital'). Although Das Kapital eventually consisted of 3 published volumes, this lecture concentrates primarily upon volumn I, with an occassional reference to the other volumns. This IS NOT the entire text of Das Kapital volumn I, but is rather a consideration of carefully selected extracts from this work. The extracts are read (in English) by an actor with a German accent representing Karl Marx, with different voice-over actors presenting characters such as Friedrich Engels and Peter Kropotkin, etc. There is also input from a number of economists and academics.
This lecture was produced in 1988 by Blackstone Audio Inc, situated in the United States of America. It comprises of a single presenation box containing:
a) Disc 1
b) Disc 2
c) Disc 3
Each of the 3 discs is untitled, but contains tracks every 3 minutes. The discs present a biography of Karl Marx from his early days until his death in 1883, and then continues (through the life of Friedrich Engels) to assess the development of Marxist thinking. Das Kapital Vol. I was originally published in 1867, with Vols II and III published after posthumously. The material is the work of David Ramsey who is a Fellow of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, and edited Dr Israel Kirzner of New York University and Mike Hassel of Knowledge Products. It is produced by Pat Childs.
The entire presentation is narrated by Louis Rukeyser (1933-2006) who was a very well known and respected journalist and financial commentator in the USA during his lifetime. This assessment of Karl Marx's Das Kapital was produced when the communist Soviet Union was still in existence - the USSR would officially end just 3 years later in 1991 - and at a time when the USA was engaged in a Cold War propaganda battle. This text, therefore, presents the thinking of Karl Marx - a priori - as being fundamentally flawed, and seeks through the rhetoric of considered academic analysis, to prove this hypothesis correct. The statistical evidence presented against Marx is often spurious and questionable, even though the narrative expressed by Rukeyser has all the pretensions of a balanced academic argument. Although the quotes from Das Kapital are correct and unaltered, the surrounding interpretive commentary carefully leads the reader (or listener) to what appears to be a quite natural conclusion that Marx was wrong, and that USA-style consumer captialism is both 'natural' and 'right'. This is not a balanced academic appraisal of the work of Karl Marx, but rather serves as an outstanding example of a Cold War relic that attempts to sway the opinion of the masses through a subtle process of academic misrepresentation.