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Critique of political economy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Critique of political economy or critique of economy is a critique that questions the very object of the economy, and hence reject the axioms, institutions and social categories, abstractions as well as the entire paradigm of what is usually referred to as "the economy".[1][2][3][4][5]

The critics of economy tend to agree that practices, assumptions, and concepts that are commonplace within the field of economics are unscientific.[6][2][7][8] As well as claim that these phenomena are rather caused by societal and or normative practices than any self-evident laws.[4][9] Therefore, critics of political economy commonly view what is most commonly referred to as "the economy" as being bundles of metaphysical concepts and societal practices.[10][5] Critics of political economy do not view "the economy", or related categories, as transhistorical,[11][12][13] but rather as relatively new in history, emerging along with capitalist modernity.[14][7] Critics of political economy aim to critique the economy itself, and hence don't aim to create theories regarding how to administer economies, as done in conventional economics.[4][15][16]

There are multiple critiques of political economy today, but what they have in common is critique of the dogma which claims "the economy" as a necessary societal category.[17][4] Regarding contemporary Marxian criticisms, these are also generally accompanied by a rejection of more naturalistically influenced readings of Marx critique of political economy, as well as other readings later deemed "weltanschaaungsmarxismus" ("worldview marxism"),[18][19][20] that was popularized as late as toward the end of the 20th century.[18][15]

According to some Marxist scholars, contemporary critiques of political economy and contemporary German Ökonomiekritik have been at least partly neglected in the anglophone world.[21]

Ruskin's critique of political economy

John Ruskin in his thirties.
John Ruskin in his thirties.

In the 1860s, John Ruskin published his essay Unto This Last which he came to view as his central work.[22][23][24] The essay was originally written as a series of publications in a magazine, which ended up having to suspend the publications, due to the severe controversy the articles caused.[23] While Ruskin is generally known as an important art critic, his study of the history of art was a component that gave him some insight into the pre-capitalist societies of the middle ages, and their social organization.[23][25] Through this insight, he was able to take a different view of the concept of "the economy" as it was envisaged by the classical economists John Stuart Mill, Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Ruskin viewed "the economy" as a kind of "collective mental lapse or collective concussion", and he viewed the emphasis on precision in industry as a kind of slavery.[26][27] Due to the fact that Ruskin regarded "the economy" as "mad", he said that it interested him as much as "a science of gymnastics which had as its axiom that human beings in fact didn't have skeletons".[2] Ruskin declared that economics rests on positions that are exactly the same. According to Ruskin, these axioms resemble thinking, not that human beings do not have skeletons, but rather that they consist entirely of skeletons. Ruskin wrote that he didn't oppose the truth value of this theory, he merely wrote that he denied that it could be successfully implemented in the world in the state it was in.[2][23]

Gandhi, one of those who was influenced by Ruskin. Gandhi even translated his central work Unto This Last into Gujarati in 1908.[28]
Gandhi, one of those who was influenced by Ruskin. Gandhi even translated his central work Unto This Last into Gujarati in 1908.[28]

Ruskin also coined the term Illth to refer to the reverse position of wealth. Ruskin is not well known today, but in 1906, a journalist asked the first generation of Labour MPs which book had most inspired them, Unto This Last emerged as an undisputed chart-topper.

[...] the art of becoming "rich," in the common sense, is not absolutely nor finally the art of accumulating much money for ourselves, but also of contriving that our neighbours shall have less. In accurate terms, it is "the art of establishing the maximum inequality in our own favour."

— Ruskin, Unto this last

Criticism of Ruskin's analysis by Marx and Engels

Marx and Engels regarded much of Ruskin's critique as rather reactionary. His idealization of the Middle Ages made them reject him as a "feudal utopian".[23]

Marx's critique of political economy

Karl Marx, author of Das Kapital (Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Ökonomie) [Capital: A Critique of Political Economy].[29]
Karl Marx, author of Das Kapital (Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Ökonomie) [Capital: A Critique of Political Economy].[29]

Karl Marx is probably the most famous critic of political economy. However Marx's companion Friedrich Engels also critiqued the economy in his Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy (1844), which helped lay down some foundation for what Marx was to take further.[30][31][32] Marx's critique of political economy encompasses the study and exposition of the mode of production and ideology of bourgeois society, and its critique of "Realabstraktionen" ["real abstraction"], that is, the fundamental "economic" and social categories present within what for Marx is the capitalist mode of production,[3][33] for example abstract labour.[clarification needed][34][5][35] In contrast to the classics of political economy, Marx was concerned with lifting the "ideological veil" of surface phenomena and exposing the norms, axioms, social practices, institutions and so on, that reproduced capital.[36] The central works in Marx's critique of political economy are Grundrisse, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy and Das Kapital. Marx's works are often explicitly named – for example: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, or Capital: A Critique of Political Economy.[37][17] Marx also cited Engels' article Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy several times in Das Kapital. However Trotskyists and other Leninists tend to implicitly or explicitly argue that these works constitute and or contain "economical theories" which can be studied independently.[38][39][40] This was also the common understanding of Marx's work on economy that was put forward by Soviet orthodoxy.[19][38] Since this is the case, it remains a matter of controversy whether Marx's critique of political economy is to be understood as a critique of the political economy or, according to the orthodox interpretation another theory of economics.[41][42] The critique of political economy is considered the most important and central project within what is usually referred to as "Marxism", which has led to, and continues to lead to a large number of advanced approaches within and outside academic circles.[17][43][5]

Foundational concepts in Marx critique of political economy

  • Labour and capital are historically specific forms of social relations, and labour isn't the source of all wealth.[44][5][45]
  • Labour is the other side of the same coin as capital, labour presupposes capital, and capital presupposes labour.[44][46]
  • Money is not in any way something transhistorical or "natural" (which goes for the other categories of the economy as well), and gains its value due to social relations rather than any inherent quality.[44][47]
  • The individual doesn't exist in some form of vacuum but is rather enmeshed in social relations.[48][49]

Economists: religious and ahistorical thought

Marx described the view of contemporaneous economists and theologians on social phenomena as similarly unscientific.[50]

"Economists have a singular method of procedure. There are only two kinds of institutions for them, artificial and natural. The institutions of feudalism are artificial institutions, those of the bourgeoisie are natural institutions. In this, they resemble the theologians, who likewise establish two kinds of religion. Every religion which is not theirs is an invention of men, while their own is an emanation from God. When the economists say that present-day relations – the relations of bourgeois production – are natural, they imply that these are the relations in which wealth is created and productive forces developed in conformity with the laws of nature. These relations, therefore, are themselves natural laws independent of the influence of time. They are eternal laws that must always govern society. Thus, there has been history, but there is no longer any. There has been history, since there were the institutions of feudalism, and in these institutions of feudalism we find quite different relations of production from those of bourgeois society, which the economists try to pass off as natural and as such, eternal."

— Marx: The Poverty of Philosophy[10]

Marx continued to emphasize the ahistorical thought of the modern economists in the Grundrisse, where he critiqued Mill.[51]

He also viewed the viewpoints which implicitly regarded the institutions of modernity to be transhistorical as fundamentally ahistorical.[13]

Individuals producing in society, and hence the socially determined production of individuals, is, of course, the point of departure. The solitary and isolated hunter or fisherman, who serves Adam Smith and Ricardo as a starting point, is one of the unimaginative fantasies of eighteenth-century romances a la Robinson Crusoe; and despite the assertions of social historians, these by no means signify simply a reaction against over-refinement and reversion to a misconceived natural life. No more is Rousseau's contract social, which by means of a contract establishes a relationship and connection between subjects that are by nature independent, based on this kind of naturalism. This is an illusion and nothing but the aesthetic illusion of the small and big Robinsonades. It is, on the contrary, the anticipation of "bourgeois society," which began to evolve in the sixteenth century and in the eighteenth century made giant strides towards maturity. The individual in this society of free competition seems to be rid of natural ties, etc., which made him an appurtenance of a particular, limited aggregation of human beings in previous historical epochs. The prophets of the eighteenth century, on whose shoulders Adam Smith and Ricardo were still wholly standing, envisaged this 18th-century individual – a product of the dissolution of feudal society on the one hand and of the new productive forces evolved since the sixteenth century on the other – as an ideal whose existence belonged to the past. They saw this individual not as a historical result, but as the starting point of history; not as something evolving in the course of history, but posited by nature, because for them this individual was in conformity with nature, in keeping with their idea of human nature. This delusion has been characteristic of every new epoch hitherto.

— Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, (Introduction)
Das Kapital: Kritik der politischen oekonomie [Capital: critique of political economy] is a famous critique of political economy written by Karl Marx
Das Kapital: Kritik der politischen oekonomie [Capital: critique of political economy] is a famous critique of political economy written by Karl Marx

According to Jacques Rancière, what Marx understood, and what the economists failed to recognize was that the value-form isn't something essential, but merely a part of the capitalist mode of production.[52]

On proper scientific inquiry

Marx also offered a critique regarding the idea of people being able to conduct scientific research in this domain.[53] Or, as he stated it himself:

"In the domain of Political Economy, free scientific inquiry meets not merely the same enemies as in all other domains. The peculiar nature of the materials it deals with, summons as foes into the field of battle the most violent, mean, and malignant passions of the human breast, the Furies of private interest. The English Established Church, e.g., will more readily pardon an attack on 38 of its 39 articles than on 1/39 of its income. Nowadays atheism is culpa levis [a relatively slight sin, c.f. mortal sin], as compared with criticism of existing property relations."

— Marx: Das Kapital (Preface to the First German Edition)

On vulgar economists

Marx also used to criticize the false critique of political economy of his contemporaries. Something he did, sometimes even more forcefully, than he critiqued the classical, and hence 'vulgar' economists. He for example rejected Lasalle's 'iron and inexorable law' of wages, which he simply regarded as mere phraseology.[54] As well as Proudhon's attempts to do what Hegel did for religion, law, etc, for political economy, as well as regarding what is social as subjective, and what was societal as merely subjective abstractions.[55][44] In Marx's view, the errors of these authors led the workers' movement astray.

Interpretations of Marx's critique of political economy

Some who engage with Marx's critique of political economy affirm the critique might assume a more Kantian sense, which transforms "Marx's work into a foray concerning the imminent antinomies that lie at the heart of capitalism, where politics and economy intertwine in impossible ways."[17] Others view Marx's critique as being a critique of commodity fetishism and the manner in which this concept expresses a criticism of modernity and its modes of socialization.[56]

Critique of Marx's critique of political economy

The postmodern philosopher, Jean Baudrillard, has critiqued Marx's critique of political economy in his 1973 book Le Miroir de la production. He views Marx as being stuck in the very categories he wanted to critique.

Critique of political economy versus common economic criticism

One may differentiate proper critique of the political economy, which takes on a more ontological character, where authors criticise the fundamental concepts and categories which make up the economy as an entity in itself.[1][57][4] Other authors who put forward a more common economic criticism does, from the perspective of the critics of political economy, merely critique "certain practices" in attempts to implicitly or explicitly 'rescue' the political economy by critique; these authors might for example propose universal basic income, planned economy or other interventions to "keep the economy running".[15][58][59][38][60] American economoist John Weeks opines that economic theories very often don't correspond with reality at all, due to assumptions which are so outlandish that they are impossible to believe in.[61] However these movements and criticisms seldom critique the very concept of economy, but implicitly regard it as a transhistorical phenomenon. Those who proclaim themselves "Marxist economists", have been rather active in suppressing the Marxian critique of political economy during the 20th century.[62]

List of critics of political economy




  • Claus Peter Ortlieb was a german mathematician who among other engagements was a critic of political economy. He was also critical of the lacking nature of the mathematical tools used by contemporary "economists", and by scientists generally.


  • The scholar Rasmus Fleischer has utilized methodology related to critique of political economy in his award-winning dissertation The political economy of music, law auditory media, and the defence of live music, 1925-2000.[64]






See also


  • Balibar, Étienne; Althusser, Louis (1979). Reading Capital. Translated by Brewster, Ben. NLB/Verso. p. 158. OCLC 216233458. [...] 'to criticize' Political Economy cannot mean to criticize or correct certain inaccuracies or points of detail in an existing discipline – nor even to fill in its gaps, its blanks, pursuing further an already largely initiated movement of exploration. 'To criticize Political Economy' means to confront it with a new problematic and a new object: i.e., to question the very object of Political Economy. But since Political Economy is defined as Political Economy by its object, the critique directed at it from the new object with which it is confronted could strike Political Economy's vital spot. This is indeed the case: Marx's critique of Political Economy cannot challenge the latter's object without disputing Political Economy itself, in its theoretical pretensions to autonomy and in the 'divisions' it creates in social reality in order to make itself the theory of the latter. [...] it queries not only the object of Political Economy, but also Political Economy itself as an object. [...] Political Economy, as it is defined by its pretensions, has no right to exist as far as Marx is concerned: if Political Economy thus conceived cannot exist, it is for de jure, not de facto reasons.
  • Postone, Moishe (1993). Time, Labor and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx's Critical Theory. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521391573. OCLC 231578868.


  1. ^ a b Ruccio, David (10 December 2020). "Toward a critique of political economy | MR Online". Retrieved 20 September 2021. Marx arrives at conclusions and formulates new terms that run directly counter to those of Smith, Ricardo, and the other classical political economists.
  2. ^ a b c d Ruskin, John. Unto this Last. pp. 128–129. Observe, I neither impugn nor doubt the conclusions of the science if its terms are accepted. I am simply uninterested in them, as I should be in those of a science of gymnastics that assumed that men had no skeletons. It might be shown, on that supposition, that it would be advantageous to roll the students up into pellets, flatten them into cakes, or stretch them into cables; and that when these results were effected, the re-insertion of the skeleton would be attended with various inconveniences to their constitution. The reasoning might be admirable, the conclusions true, and the science deficient only inapplicability. Modern political economy stands on a precisely similar basis. Assuming, not that the human being has no skeleton, but that it is all skeleton, it founds an ossifiant theory of progress on this negation of a soul; and having shown the utmost that may be made of bones, and constructed a number of interesting geometrical figures with death's-heads and humeri, successfully proves the inconvenience of the reappearance of a soul among these corpuscular structures. I do not deny the truth of this theory: I simply deny its applicability to the present phase of the world.
  3. ^ a b "Marx Ekonomikritik". Fronesis (in Swedish) (28). Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e Balibar & Althusser 1979.
  5. ^ a b c d e Postone 1993.
  6. ^ Patterson, Orlando; Fosse, Ethan. "Overreliance on the Pseudo-Science of Economics". The New York Times. [...] the real-world implementation of mainstream economic ideas has been a string of massive failures. Economic thinking undergirded the "deregulation" mantra leading up to the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and has fared no better in attempts to "fix" the ongoing crisis in Europe. [...] nowhere is the discipline's failure more apparent than in the area of development economics. In fact, the only countries that have effectively transformed from the "Third" to the "First World" since World War II violated the main principles of current and previous economic orthodoxies: [...] Only recently have economists come to accept the primacy of institutions in explaining and promoting economic growth, a position long held by sociologists [...] (OpEd)
  7. ^ a b Badeen, Dennis; Murray, Patrick. "A Marxian Critique of Neoclassical Economics' Reliance on Shadows of Capital's Constitutive Social Forms" (PDF).
  8. ^ Murray, Patrick (March 2020). "The Illusion of the Economic: Social Theory without Social Forms". Critical Historical Studies. 7 (1): 19–27. doi:10.1086/708005. ISSN 2326-4462. S2CID 219746578. "Bourgeois or capitalist production . . . is consequently for [Ricardo]," Marx writes, "not a specific definite mode of production, but simply the mode of production." [...] The illusion of the economic arises within what Marx calls the "bourgeois horizon," which trades in phenomenologically false bifurcations such as the purely subjective versus the purely objective, form versus content, forces versus relatisusons of production, the labor process versus the valorization process, distribution versus production, and more.
  9. ^ Peperell, Nicole. "Beyond reification: Reclaiming Marx's Concept of the Fetish Character of the Commodity" (PDF). Kontradikce: A Journal for Critical Thought. The critical edge of Marx's analysis does not derive, therefore, from any sort of declaration that this impersonal social relation does not exist, or is not 'truly' impersonal. Instead, it derives from the demonstration of how such a peculiar and counter-intuitive sort of social relation – one that possesses qualitative characteristics more normally associated with our interactions with non-social reality – comes to be unintentionally generated in collective practice.
  10. ^ a b "The Poverty of Philosophy - Chapter 2.1". Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  11. ^ Fareld, Victoria; Kuch, Hannes (2020), From Marx to Hegel and Back, Bloomsbury Academic, p. 182, doi:10.5040/, ISBN 978-1-3500-8267-0, S2CID 213805975, retrieved 17 September 2021
  12. ^ Postone 1993, pp. 44, 192–216.
  13. ^ a b Ruccio, David (10 December 2020). "Toward a critique of political economy | MR Online". Retrieved 20 September 2021. Second, Marx's concern is always with social and historical specificity, as against looking for or finding what others would consider being given and universal.
  14. ^ "Economic Manuscripts: Engels' Review of Marx's Critique of Political Economy". Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  15. ^ a b c Ramsay, Anders (21 December 2009). "Marx? Which Marx? Marx's work and its history of reception". Retrieved 16 September 2021. When it is based on the naturalistic understanding, the entire theoretical edifice of the critique of political economy breaks down. What is left is a theory not entirely unlike Adam Smith's, one in which individual labour creates value, and the capacity to create value becomes an ontological determination of labour. With good reason, one could speak of a Smithian Marxism ...
  16. ^ "Marx's Critique of Classical Economics". Retrieved 2 October 2021. These points made here by Marx are particularly important in view of the fact that it is almost a commonplace amongst those sympathetic to, as well as those hostile to, Marx to assume that he shared a basically similar value theory with that of his classical forerunners, namely a labour theory of value. I believe, however, this notion – of a ‘labour theory of value’ in Marx – is at best confusing and at worst quite wrong.
  17. ^ a b c d Ruda, Frank; Hamza, Agon (2016). "Introduction: Critique of Political Economy" (PDF). Crisis and Critique. 3 (3): 5–7.
  18. ^ a b "Läs kapitalet - igen" [Capital - again] (PDF). Fronesis. 28: 12 (p.5 in the pdf). [His striving to develop a materialist ontology and a unitary theory, which could speak on all parts of reality, made a wider use for the schools and parties in the east which far into the sixties and seventies stood for different forms of worldview marxism.]
  19. ^ a b Ramsay, Anders. "Marx? Which Marx? Marx's work and its history of reception". Retrieved 16 September 2021. During a second phase, a less "economistic" Marx emerged. The publication of the writings of the young Marx, above all the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, revealed a different Marx, one less preoccupied with technology, and less deterministic. It became possible to criticise "Marx through Marx", a critique which had particular importance in the eastern European state socialist systems.
  20. ^ "Läs kapitalet - igen" [Read Capital - again] (PDF). Fronesis. 28: 10 (p.3 in the pdf).
  21. ^ O’Kane, Chris (29 January 2018). "On the Development of the Critique of Political Economy as a Critical Social Theory of Economic Objectivity: A Review of Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy by Werner Bonefeld". Historical Materialism. 26 (1): 175–193. doi:10.1163/1569206X-12341552. ISSN 1465-4466. [...] a number of important critical- theoretical approaches to the critique of political economy [...] have been largely neglected in the anglophone world.
  22. ^ Ruskin, John (1877). Unto This Last, and Other Essays on Political Economy. Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent: George Allen – via Project Gutenberg.
  23. ^ a b c d e Jönsson, Dan. "John Ruskin: En brittisk 1800-talsaristokrat för vår tid? - OBS". (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  24. ^ G M, Peter Swann. ""No Wealth But Life": When Does Mercantile Wealth Create Ruskinian Wealth?" (PDF). European research studies journal.
  25. ^ "Ruskin the radical: why the Victorian critic is back with a vengeance". The Guardian. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 12 November 2021. "In some ways, Ruskin seems like the most Victorian of the Victorians, so not applicable to our lives now," says David Russell, associate professor of English at Corpus Christi College Oxford. "People get hung up on how eccentric some of his ideas were, but the core of his claims remains relevant and important. That is to say: our aesthetic experience, our experience of beauty in ordinary life, must be central to thinking about any good life and society. It’s not just decoration or luxury for the few. If you are taught how to see the world properly through an understanding of aesthetics, then you’ll see society properly.”
  26. ^ Jönsson, Dan. "John Ruskin: En brittisk 1800-talsaristokrat för vår tid? - OBS". (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio. Retrieved 24 September 2021. Den klassiska nationalekonomin, som den utarbetats av John Stuart Mill, Adam Smith och David Ricardo, betraktade han som en sorts kollektivt hjärnsläpp ... [Transl. Ruskin viewed the classical political economy as it was developed by Mill, Smith, and Ricardo, as a kind of "collective mental lapse.]
  27. ^ "From Labor to Value: Marx, Ruskin, and the Critique of Capitalism". Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  28. ^ "Gandhi's Human Touch | Articles on and by Mahatma Gandhi". Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  29. ^ Marx, Karl (1867–1894). Das Kapital : Kritik der politischen Ökonomie [Capital: A Critique of Political Economy]. ISBN 978-3-7306-9034-5. OCLC 1141780305.
  30. ^ "Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbucher" [German-French Yearbooks]. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  31. ^ Liedman, Sven-Eric. "Engelsismen" (PDF). Fronesis (in Swedish) (28): 134. Engels var också först med att kritiskt bearbeta den nya nationalekonomin; hans "Utkast till en kritik av nationalekonomin" kom ut 1844 och blev en utgångspunkt för Marx egen kritik av den politiska ekonomin [Engels was the first to critically engage the new political economy his Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy came out in 1844 and became a starting point for Marx's own critique of the political economy]
  32. ^ Murray, Patrick (March 2020). "The Illusion of the Economic: Social Theory without Social Forms". Critical Historical Studies. 7 (1): 19–27. doi:10.1086/708005. ISSN 2326-4462. S2CID 219746578. "There are no counterparts to Marx's economic concepts in either classical or utility theory." I take this to mean that Marx breaks with economics, where economics is understood to be a generally applicable social science.
  33. ^ Bellofiore, Riccardo (2016). "Marx after Hegel: Capital as Totality and the Centrality of Production" (PDF). Crisis & Critique. 3 (3): 31.
  34. ^ Jung, Henrik (1 January 2019). "Slagen av abstraktioner: Förnuftiga och reala abstraktioner i Marx ekonomikritik". Lychnos: Årsbok för idé- och lärdomshistoria (in Swedish). ISSN 0076-1648. Marx consistently reveals the social abstraction of the substance of value and capital, i.e. abstract labour, as a Realabstraktion dominating individuals in bourgeois society through money and capital.
  35. ^ Fareld, Victoria; Kuch, Hannes (9 January 2020). From Marx to Hegel and back capitalism, critique, and utopia. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 150, 143. ISBN 978-1-350-08268-7. OCLC 1141198381.
  36. ^ Freeman, Alan. "The psychopathology of Walrasian Marxism" (PDF). Munich Personal RePEc Archive. ‘Economic’ categories, appearing as inhuman things with a mind of their own – prices, money, interest rates – are for Marx the disguised form of relations between people.
  37. ^ Balibar, Étienne (2007). The philosophy of Marx. London: Verso. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-84467-187-8. OCLC 154707531. The expression 'critique of political economy' figures repeatedly in the title or programme of Marx's main works [...] To these we may add a great many unpublished pieces, articles and sections in polemical works.
  38. ^ a b c Volkov, Genrikh Nikolaevich (1982). The Basics of Marxist-Leninist Theory. Progress guides to the social sciences. Moscow: Progress. pp. 51, 188, 313. OCLC 695564556.
  39. ^ Ernest, Mandel (1973). An introduction to Marxist economic theory. Pathfinder. ISBN 0-87348-315-4. OCLC 609440295.
  40. ^ Brooks, Mick. "An introduction to Marx's Labour Theory of Value". In Defence of Marxism. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  41. ^ "Excerpt from discussion on SPSM listserv on whether Capital can be understood as a "Critique" of Political economy or as "Marxist" political economy, highlighting the view of Juan Inigo".
  42. ^ Wolff, Jonathan; Leopold, David (2 September 2021). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University – via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  43. ^ "Programme of the French Worker's Party". Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  44. ^ a b c d Marx, Karl; Nicolaus, Martin (1993). Grundrisse : foundations of the critique of political economy (rough draft). London: Penguin Books in association with New Left Review. pp. 296, 239, 264. ISBN 0-14-044575-7. OCLC 31358710.
  45. ^ Adorno (1999). Hegel : three studies (2nd ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. pp. 23–24. ISBN 0-585-32889-7. OCLC 45844084. Labor is not the source of all wealth. Nature is just as much the source of use values (and it is surely of such that material wealth consists!) as labor, which itself is only the manifestation of a force of nature, human labor power. The above phrase is to be found in all children's primers [...] But a socialist program cannot allow such bourgeois phrases to pass over in silence the conditions that give them meaning.
  46. ^ Pradella, Lucia (2015). Globalisation and the critique of political economy : new insights from Marx's writings. Abingdon, Oxon. p. 147. ISBN 978-1-317-80072-9. OCLC 897376910. The analysis of the production process as a whole, namely, as a reproduction process, removed the illusion of the autonomy of value, revealing that capital entirely consists of objectified labour. Workers are faced with their own labour, objectified in means of production and of subsistence, which becomes capital, thus recreating the conditions for their exploitation.
  47. ^ Saitō, Kōhei (2017). Karl Marx's ecosocialism: capitalism, nature, and the unfinished critique of political economy. New York. ISBN 978-1-58367-643-1. OCLC 1003193200. Marx's critique of classical political economy as a critique of the fetishistic (that is, ahistorical) understanding of economic categories, which identifies the appearance of capitalist society with the universal and transhistorical economic laws of nature. Marx, in contrast, comprehends those economic categories as "specific social forms" and reveals the underlying social relations that bestow an objective validity of this inverted world where economic things dominate human beings.
  48. ^ Marx, Karl. "Economic Manuscripts: Appendix I: Production, Consumption, Distribution, Exchange". Retrieved 4 October 2021. Individuals producing in society, and hence the socially determined production of individuals, is, of course, the point of departure. The solitary and isolated hunter or fisherman, who serves Adam Smith and Ricardo as a starting point, is one of the unimaginative fantasies of eighteenth-century romances a la Robinson Crusoe [...] The prophets of the eighteenth century, on whose shoulders Adam Smith and Ricardo were still wholly standing, envisaged this 18th-century individual [...] They saw this individual not as a historical result, but as the starting point of history; not as something evolving in the course of history, but posited by nature, because for them this individual was in conformity with nature, in keeping with their idea of human nature. This delusion has been characteristic of every new epoch hitherto. [...]

    The further back we trace the course of history, the more does the individual, and accordingly also the producing individual, appears to be dependent and to belong to a larger whole. [...] It is not until the eighteenth century that in bourgeois society the various forms of the social texture confront the individual as merely means towards his private ends, as external necessity. But the epoch which produces this standpoint, namely that of the solitary individual, is precisely the epoch of the (as yet) most highly developed social (according to this standpoint, general) relations. Man [...] is not only a social animal but an animal that can be individualised only within society.
  49. ^ Marx, Karl. "Critique of the Gotha Programme-- I". Retrieved 12 October 2021. Thirdly, the conclusion: "Useful labor is possible only in society and through society, the proceeds of labor belong undiminished with equal right to all members of society." A fine conclusion! If useful labor is possible only in society and through society, the proceeds of labor belong to society [...] The first and second parts of the paragraph have some intelligible connection only in the following wording: "Labor becomes the source of wealth and culture only as social labor", or, what is the same thing, "in and through society".
  50. ^ Peperell (2018). "Beyond reification: Reclaiming Marx's Concept of the Fetish Character of the Commodity" (PDF). Kontradikce: A Journal for Critical Thought. 2: 35. [...] it becomes clearer that Marx intends to draw a distinction between social phenomena that could either be understood purely in cultural terms or solely in terms of intersubjectively-meaningful social phenomena, and a different kind of social phenomenon, one that Marx suggests social actors can create unintentionally, prior to integrating it into meaningful intersubjective belief systems. This distinction becomes important to Marx's claim that political economy only retroactively discovers certain social patterns that Marx regards as intrinsic to capitalist production, and is important to understanding why Marx's concept of the fetish is distinct from many attempts to thematize ideology, which often understand ideology in terms of false consciousness or incorrect belief.
  51. ^ Marx. "Grundrisse". The aim is, rather, to present production – see e.g. Mill – as distinct from distribution, etc., as encased in eternal natural laws independent of history, at which opportunity bourgeois relations are then quietly smuggled in as the inviolable natural laws on which society in the abstract is founded. This is the more or less conscious purpose of the whole proceeding. In distribution, by contrast, humanity has allegedly permitted itself to be considerably more arbitrary. Quite apart from this crude tearing-apart of production and distribution and of their real relationship, it must be apparent from the outset that, no matter how different distribution may have been arranged in different stages of social development, it must be possible here also, just as with production, to single out common characteristics, and just as possible to confound or to extinguish all historic differences under general human laws.
  52. ^ Rancière, Jacques (August 1976). "The concept of 'critique' and the 'critique of political economy' (from the 1844 Manuscript to Capital)". Economy and Society. 5 (3): 352–376. doi:10.1080/03085147600000016. ISSN 0308-5147 – via JSTOR.
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  56. ^ Pimenta, Tomás Lima (August 2020). "Alienation and fetishism in Karl Marx's critique of political economy". Nova Economia. 30 (2): 605–628. doi:10.1590/0103-6351/4958. ISSN 1980-5381.
  57. ^ Arthur, Christopher (2004). The new dialectic and Marx capital. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. pp. 232–233, 8.
  58. ^ Streithorst, Tom (20 December 2015). "How Basic Income Solves Capitalism's Fundamental Problem". Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  59. ^ Connelly, Claire (27 February 2018). "A Universal Basic Income is capitulation to capitalism". Renegade Inc. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  60. ^ Ayres, Robert (12 August 2020). "How Universal Basic Income Could Save Capitalism". INSEAD Knowledge. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  61. ^ Weeks, John (2011). The irreconcilable inconsistencies of neoclassical macroeconomics : a false paradigm. New York: Routledge. pp. 1, 276. ISBN 978-0-415-68022-6. OCLC 753468528. Almost every generalization of neoclassical economics is logically false except under analytical constraints ("assumptions") so restrictive as to be absurd even in the abstract. [...] If a theory is logically flawed, empirical evidence for its predictions is no support. Such evidence would imply that the theory may occasionally yield the appropriate prediction, but has the wrong explanation. The pre- Copernicus geocentric celestial theory yielded roughly accurate predictions of major astronomical events, but it was wrong; the sun does not circle the earth.
  62. ^ Ankarloo (referencing Kliman and Freeman), Fronesis #28, 2008
  63. ^ Patterson, Orlando; Fosse, Ethan (9 February 2015). "Overreliance on the Pseudo-Science of Economics". (OpEd)
  64. ^ Fleischer, Rasmus (2012). "Musikens politiska ekonomi - Lagstiftningen, ljudmedierna och försvaret av den levande musiken, 1925–2000" [The political economy of music, law audiotory media, and the defence of live music, 1925-2000] (in Swedish). Lund University. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) (Abstract in English)
  65. ^ Fisher, Mark (13 November 2018). K-punk. pp. 605–607. ISBN 9781912248292.
  66. ^ Hamza, Agon. "Re-reading Capital 150 years after: some Philosophical and Political Challenges" (PDF). Continental Thought & Theory: A Journal of Intellectual Freedom: 158–159. This is the Žižekian lesson: Marx’s critique of political economy is not only a critique of the classical political economy (Smith, Ricardo...), but it is also a form of critique, a transcendental one according to Žižek, which allows us to articulate the elementary forms of social edifice under capitalism itself. And this ‘transcendental’ framework, cannot be other than philosophical.
  67. ^ Broady, Donald (1978) (
  68. ^ "Litteraturens värden - Lunds universitet" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  69. ^ "Vad är ekonomi?-citat". (in Swedish).
  70. ^ "Rätten till lättja". Retrieved 2 September 2021.

Further reading


General articles

  • (In swedish) - Mortensen, Anders - Att göra "penningens genius till sin slaf". Om Carl Jonas Love Almqvists romantiska ekonomikritik - Vetenskapssocieteten i Lund. Årsbok.

Scholarly articles

  • Granberg, Magnus "Reactionary radicalism and the analysis of worker subjectivity in Marx’s critique of political economy"


Critique of political economy

On Marx critique of political economy

  • Murray, Patrick (2016), The mismeasure of wealth - Essays on Marx and social form. - Brill
  • Pepperell, Nicole (2010), Disassembling Capital, RMIT University
  • Postone, Moishe (1993) - Time labour and social domination
Neue Marx-Lektüre (NML)
  • Elbe, Ingo (2010). Marx Im Westen. Die neue Marx-Lektüre in der Bundesrepublik seit 1965 [Marx in the west. The new reading of Marx in the Federal Republic since 1965]. Berlin: Akademie Verlag. ISBN 9783050061214. OCLC 992454101.
  • Bryer, Robert - Accounting for History in Marx's Capital: The Missing Link
  • Kurz, Robert, 1943-2012, Schwarzbuch Kapitalismus: ein Abgesang auf die Marktwirtschaft (also known as: The Satanic Mills) - 2009 - Erweit. Neuasg. ISBN 978-3-8218-7316-9
  • Pilling, Geoff - Marx’s Capital, Philosophy and Political Economy
Classic works


Postone, Moishe - Necessity, Labor and Time: A Reinterpretation of the Marxian Critique of Capitalism

External links

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