Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Karl Marx´s Theory of Capitalism Exposition, Critique, and Appraisal

Escudé, Guillermo J. (2021): Karl Marx´s Theory of Capitalism Exposition, Critique, and Appraisal. Published in: (2021): pp. 1-590.


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This book gives a clear synthesis of Marx’s theory of Capitalism and its relation with economic theory as it evolved over the course of the last 300 years. It places Marx’s though in perspective, comparing it with the main aspects of the economic theories that preceded it, including not only the Classical Adam Smith and David Ricardo but also economists like Cantillon, Turgot, and Ramsay that Marx chose to ignore with respect to the crucial issue of entrepreneurship because it was incompatible with his Theory of Surplus Value. But the book also contrasts Marx’s theory with Walras’, the Neoclassical economist whose influence on contemporary mainstream economic theory was most lasting. The analytical aspects of Marx’s theory are rigorously expressed by means of the technique of Input-Output Analysis, which is explained from the most elementary level in order to make the book self-contained. Each of the multiple topics of Marx’s complex and refined theory is explained in detail, including his theory of money, the heterogeneity in kinds of labor and in productive techniques, the turnover of capital, Simple and Extended Reproduction, his theory of the economic cycle, his theory of ground rent, his theory of productive and unproductive labor, and his view of the main tendencies of capitalist society. The book is structured in accordance with the development process of Marx’s thought. Hence, it begins with the life project he generated in his youth and drove him from the study of history and philosophy to that of Political Economy, on the one hand, and political praxis, on the other. Hence, Parts I, II, and IV of the book respectively address A) the philosophical-methodological foundations of his scientific endeavor (his Historical Materialism); B) his scientific theory of capitalist society as expressed in Capital; and C) his political thought and praxis, which had enormous effects over the course of the 20th century. Part III of the book addresses our critique of Marx’s theory of Capitalism. Beyond our criticisms, however, the book shows that Marx made important contributions to the comprehension of the functioning of Capitalism in the more conventional part of his theory, which we denominate ‘exoteric’ in order to contrast it with his ‘esoteric’ Theory of Surplus Value which was the foundation of his view of the exploitation of wage labor in Capitalism.

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