Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

Ewald Engelen presents Karl Marx

AISSR Great Thinkers Seminar Series

27Nov2017 15:00 - 16:30


During the second Great Thinkers Lecture of this academic year, Financial Geographer Ewald Engelen will trace the renewed relevance of the writings of Karl Marx. He will also discuss what Marx failed to tell us.

Abstract of lecture

A decade after the Great Financial Crisis it has become increasingly clear that there is something seriously rotten in our global capitalist system. The exploitation of nature, animals and human labour has reached levels unknown in human history. While corporate profitability is at record height, the wage share has been declining for decades now, indicating a substantial power shift between capital and labour, which before the crisis has remained largely hidden because of rapidly increasing levels of private debt. At the same time, we are reaching the limits of our ecological metabolism due to man made changes in climate and nature. In this conjuncture the writings of Karl Marx have received renewed attention.

In this lecture, I will trace that renewed relevance through an analysis of the three modes of criticism that Marx elaborated in Das Kapital, the first part of which was published exactly 150 years ago, applying them to the current state of affairs in the economy, economics and economic fethishization. I will end my talk with a brief discussion of what Marx failed to tell us and in fact requires a reworking of Marx's political economy into a truly political ecology.

About Karl Marx

Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, political theorist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist. His most well-known works are the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital. His work has since influenced subsequent intellectual, economic and political history. Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history and his work has been both lauded and criticised. His work in economics laid the basis for much of the current understanding of labour and its relation to capital, and subsequent economic thought.

About Ewald Engelen

Ewald Engelen is Professor of Financial Geography at the University of Amsterdam who, like Marx in his time, is fascinated by our current political, economic and ecological conjuncture. He has published extensively on processes of financialization in a range of different settings.

About the Great Thinkers Seminar Series

AISSR members present the work of a great thinker in the field of social sciences immersing us in key features of the social science canon and ‘Great Thinkers’ and exploring contributions across disciplinary lines. Staff members, PhD students and others interested can attend the public lecture. For AISSR PhD students the lecture can be followed by a PhD seminar with a second discussion of key readings of the respective thinker. How can you use these readings in your own research project? 


All are welcome. Registration via:

PhD Seminar

This lecture is followed by a PhD seminar on 4 December, 15.00-17.00.

Location: CREA, Theaterzaal

  • Roeterseilandcampus - building I (CREA)

    Nieuwe Achtergracht 168-178 | 1018 WV Amsterdam

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