By Cecilia Cress
The Philosophy Club and the Mu Chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon invited author, economist, and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Pace University Dr. Andrew Kliman to speak on Marxism, modern politics, and more at Hotchkiss Recital Hall on March 4.
During the event, Dr. Kliman answered questions about his personal beliefs concerning how he became interested in Marxism, the effects of the current capitalist economy on important issues like climate change, politics, and society as a whole.
President of the Compost Team and economics and philosophy major senior Emily Hurley, who helped plan the event, made opening remarks. Hurley thanked members of the Philosophy Club, the Economics Honor Society, the Student Government Association, and Associate Professor of Economics Dr. Adalbert Mayer for helping make the event possible, and also gave a statement on what was hoped to be accomplished during the talk.
“I hope this event will show that Marxism is anything but an unimaginable philosophy. Marxism as a system of values and beliefs often is part of a personal journey toward learning about our own world and our own contemporary economy,” Hurley said. “The point of this event [is] to encourage others to reflect on their own experiences with Marxism, and determine if they are truly interpreting [Marx’s] work in the world around them correctly.”
Dr. Kliman received his bachelor’s in economics from the University of Maryland, and went on to receive his PhD. in economics from the University of Utah.
Dr. Kliman “stands out as a leading figure in the contemporary landscape of Heterodox Economics” because of his extensive knowledge of economics demonstrated in his books, “Reclaiming Marx’s ‘Capital’: A Refutation of the Myth of Inconsistency,” and “The Failure of Capitalist Production: Underlying Causes of the Great Recession,” according to the Feb. 21 email sent by Dr. Mayer.
Dr. Kliman is the author of dozens of other published works, and has been studying and writing about economics, Marxian thought, and political economics for decades.
According to Dr. Kliman, Marxism within economic theory explores the relationship between capitalists, large corporations, and working-class citizens.
Dr. Kliman focused on the concept of profit maximization: a “dominating principle on which
society is run.” It is the process businesses undergo that determines their singular goal of how to achieve maximum profit, often at the expense of the working class.
“The laws of capitalism are still what’s really in control,” Dr. Kliman said. “What we really need is a new society and a new economy that is under the people’s control, and not under the control of these abstract alien laws that dominate us…There’s no economic law, no law of nature saying that one has to maximize profit.”
Dr. Kliman said he believes profit maximization, one of the motivating forces of the economy, is a “limiting force” when it comes to potential political, social, and overall societal change.
“The point is, it’s not just the ideas of people. It’s not just greed, or ill will. It’s not just forms of decision making that are the problem that we face,” Dr. Kliman said. “What we face is an economy and a system that’s built on principle that is alien to human beings, it’s alien to human flourishing. And that principle, profit maximization, is a principle that has to be overcome.”
Dr. Kliman said, in regards to climate change, that the current economic system is only making things worse, and that a change has been needed for some time.
“This is the issue of our age…to a large extent, the science has been known for a very long time,” Dr. Kliman said. “Next to nothing has been done, and the problem keeps getting worse…Is it a matter of greed, ill will, is it a lack of knowledge? Is it the wrong people in power? I don’t think so. [It’s] profit maximization…It’s the system in competition.”
Photo by Lydia Young Lee
Featured Photo Caption: On Friday, March 4, Marxist author, economist, and retired Pace University professor of economics Dr. Andrew Kliman talked to Washington College students, staff, and faculty on several topics including Marxism, capitalism, modern politics, and other current issues.