Marx This Long

Marx This Long

Marx This long and involved work is mainly an account of Marx's thesis that the free enterprise capitalist system contained the seeds of its destruction. It is based largely on the labour theory of value: that the value of a commodity is determined by the quantity of labour embodied in its production. Marx's observation that only part of the total value accrued to the labour force as wages led to his theory of 'surplus value': that part of total value which accrues to the capitalist rather than to the worker. He ascribed to the capitalist an insatiable thirst for surplus value, and built up a theory of 'capitalist accumulation' which maintained that the economic system would gradually cause the control of productive resources to fall into fewer and fewer hands and produce an ever-increasing 'proletariat'. Man's concept of the revolution was based on the view that with the advent of commercial crises the numerous members of the expropriated class would overthrow the small group owning the means of production and the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' would follow.

Later work on the theory of value and subsequent development of the capitalist system seemed to reject much of Marx's thinking. But his theories reinforced the views of the growing school of socialists who, like Marx, based their thought on David Ricardo's labour theory of value. 'Through their adoption as the basis of the Russian Revolution and revolutionary movements elsewhere Marx has influenced world political history.

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Since then his writings have in turn been increasingly reinterpreted as a special case both by some followers and by some economists who had not wholly accepted his writings. The content of economics is in a state of change, and this site is therefore not a final statement of economic doctrine.

Economics is in the last resort a technique of thinking. The reader will therefore need to make an intellectual effort, more substantial for some web entries than for others, to get the most interest and value out of this website.