On 12thJune 2018 Professor Fabio Vighi (Cardiff University) gave a talk onThe value of Marx, 200 years after his birth. In his talk Professor Vighi noted that while the communist utopia evoked in some of Marx’s writings has been dead and buried at least since 1989, what is left on our historical scene is the original capitalist dream of realising a self-sufficient society based on ‘free’ economic relations. The extent to which such a dream scenario is likely to turn into a global nightmare is the topic of this talk. Prof. Vighi drew upon key concepts in Marx’s critique of political economy (such as value, labour and mode of production) to argue that Marx’s enduring contribution resides in his uncovering the modern metaphysics of the value-form (Wertform) as the a priori condition that structures our world. The historical inability to reflect on capitalist value as the disavowed cause of our ontological horizon translates into our inability to tackle crisis at its roots was explored.
Rather than focussing on the Marxist theme of the revolutionary (or reformist) potential of the working class, the talk centred on the contemporary relevance of Marx as the thinker of the capitalist mode of production. If historical Marxist movements have privileged the defence of the social dignity of wage work, here it will be argued that the real stakes, in Marx, concern the critique of the sphere of production, where economic value is generated out of the combustion of human energy the talk noted.
The photos showProfessor Fabio Vighi and David Melding AM