Utopia After the Crash

Centre for Critical Human Rights Research Third Inequality Forum

Professor David F. Ruccio

Where: Lecture Theatre 1, Building 20, University of Wollongong
When: 5:30pm, Wednesday 26 October 2016

Utopia and critique seemingly disappeared from our academic, cultural, and political discourses after the crash of 2007-08, precisely when they have been most needed. In my lecture, I want to present for discussion the thesis that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had a much more positive assessment and appreciation of “utopian socialism,” especially the work of Robert Owen, than we find in traditional, “scientific” interpretations of Marxism (emanating from both inside and outside the Marxian tradition). I also intend to connect that debate over utopian socialism to the rich, long history of intentional communities in Australia, beginning with Herrnhut in 1853. Finally, I plan to argue that, while Marxian theory is not a utopianism (unlike, for example, neoclassical economics), it does have what I consider to be a “utopian moment,” which is based on the idea of ruthless criticism. In my view, it is the twofold critique of political economy—the critique of capitalism and of mainstream economic theory—that needs to be recaptured and rethought, since it is particularly relevant to the debate about the causes and consequences of the Global Financial Crisis and the ongoing problems of capitalism in the world today.

RSVP for catering purposes by Monday 24 October to abrown@uow.edu.au.

About the Speaker
Dr. David F. Ruccio is Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame, where he has taught since 1982. He is also a member of the Higgins Labor Studies Program and the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. He has won the Kaneb Teaching Award, the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and an American Association of University Professors Academic Freedom Award. Dr. Ruccio is the author of over 80 journal articles and book chapters. His books include Development and Globalization: A Marxian Class Analysis (Routledge), Economic Representations: Both Academic and Everyday (Routledge), Postmodern Moments in Modern Economics (Princeton University Press), Postmodernism, Economics, and Knowledge (Routledge), and Postmodern Materialism and the Future of Marxist Theory (Wesleyan University Press).

Dr. Ruccio was a founding member of the journal Rethinking Marxism, served as its editor for twelve years (1997-2009), and was most recently the coeditor of the Keywords section. He continues as a member of the international advisory board. A frequent speaker in interdisciplinary programs and conferences around the world, Dr. Ruccio has appeared on the BBC World News Service and has been interviewed by a wide range of national and international media. His blog is Occasional Links & Commentary on Economics, Culture, and Society, and he frequently writes for the Real-World Economics Review blog.

Dr. Ruccio’s main research areas are Marxian economic theory, inequality and the Second Great Depression, international political economy, economic development (especially in Latin America), and economic methodology. He is currently working on three new book manuscripts: “Critique and Utopia,” “Mind the Gap” and “What’s the Matter with Exploitation.”

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