Articles of Volume 7, No 2

Documenting Karl Marx: Rethinking Marx Ideas on the Commodity within a Documentary

Ulrich Hamenstädt

Ulrich Hamenstädt


Imagine a market where you have a high misallocation of commodities; this market could be the global food market. More than 150 years ago Karl Marx asked the question, why the classical economy of his time had such problems to properly explain the reasons for dysfunctional markets. The work of Marx and Engels turned the 20th century into a kind of stone quarry, where different ideological directions made use of the theory, and often misused it at the same time. This paper wants to introduce the reader to some of the core ideas of Marx’s ‘Capital’, and also illustrate how lectures – in the case of Marx – can utilise the popularisation of public media for teaching purposes.  This paper introduces Marx’s idea of ‘commodity’ in the context of interviews from the popular Austrian documentary ‘We Feed the World’. By using the current global agriculture production as an example, the paper examines an urgent problem of global politics on the one hand. On the other hand, the paper aims to illustrate how the idea of joining Marx’s theory with an actual documentary can be used in order to introduce one of the core thinkers of political economy to undergraduate students.

Keywords: Karl Marx, Capital, Documentary, We feed the World, Teaching

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