New Books in BiographyNew Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network February 22, 2014 Marshall Poe
The British Marxist economist Maurice Dobb is now largely forgotten. That’s too bad for a number of reasons. He was a brilliant thinker who wrote some of the most insightful analyses of the development and workings of capitalism around. You can still read his work and profit. He was the intellectual godfather of several notable British Marxist historians of the “New Left” of the 1960s and 1970s: Rodney Hilton, Christopher Hill, E.P. Thompson, among others. And, perhaps most importantly, his life gives us a window into a forgotten time, one in which a economists took communism seriously and fellows at Cambridge could earnestly believe in a bright communist future. This, I think, is a time we must not forget.
Thanks to Timothy Shenk‘s well-researched, readable biography Maurice Dobb: Political Economist (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013), we won’t have to. Shenk tells Dobb’s tale in all its tortured complexity. A member of the establishment and an anti-establishmentarian. A dyed-in-the-wool Marxist and a deadly serious empirically-oriented economist. A supporter of the Soviet Union and a critic of Soviet power. Listen in.