Money, Power, and Capitalism: Marx’s Theory of Money and the Contemporary State-Credit Standard

  • Ramaa Vasudevan
Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)


The analytical structure of Marx’s theorization of money reflects both his materialist conception of history and the dialectical method of analysis he deployed to understand concrete phenomena. The same approach is deployed to comprehend how and why and by what means credit money (and state credit money in particular) became the basis of the modern monetary system. The chapter highlights how Marx’s ideas about money and finance, which were developed in the context of commodity money, help in comprehending the contemporary international financial system.


Marxian theory of money Marxian theory of finance Credit money Karl Marx 


  1. Crotty, James. “The Centrality of Money, Credit and Financial Intermediation in Marx’s Crisis Theory.” In Rethinking Marxism, edited by Steven Resnick and Richard Wolff, 45–8. New York: Autonomedia, 1985.Google Scholar
  2. de Brunhoff, Suzanne. Marx on Money. New York: Urizen Books, 1976.Google Scholar
  3. de Brunhoff, Suzanne. “Marx’s Contribution to the Search for a Theory of Money.” In Marx’s Theory of Money: Modern Appraisals, edited by Fred Moseley, 209–22. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Foley, Duncan. “On Marx’s Theory of Money.” Social Concept 1, no. 1 (1983): 5–19.Google Scholar
  5. Foley, Duncan. “Money in Economic Activity.” In The New Palgrave: Money, edited by John Eatwell, Murray Milgate and Peter Newman, 248–62. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1989.Google Scholar
  6. Foley, Duncan. “Marx’s Theory of Money in Historical Perspective.” In Marx’s Theory of Money: Modern Appraisals, edited by F. Moseley, 36–50. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Foley, Duncan and Suzanne de Brunhoff. “Karl Marx’s Theory of Money and Credit.” In A Handbook of Alternative Monetary Economics, edited by Philip Arestis and Malcolm C. Sawyer, 188–204. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2007.Google Scholar
  8. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier and Hélène Rey. “From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: US External Adjustment and the Exorbitant privilege.” NBER Working Paper 11563. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2005.Google Scholar
  9. Haldane, Andrew G. and Piergiorgio Alessandri. “Banking on the State.” Paper Presented at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Twelfth Annual International Banking Conference, 2009.Google Scholar
  10. Kenway, Peter. “Marx, Keynes, and the Possibility of Crisis.” Cambridge Journal of Economics 4, no. 1 (1980): 23–36.Google Scholar
  11. Lapavitsas, Costas. “Two Approaches to the Concept of Interest Bearing Capital.” International Journal of Political Economy 27, no. 1 (1997): 85–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lindo, Duncan. “Political Economy of Financial Derivatives: A Theoretical Analysis of the Evolution of Banking and Its Role in Derivatives Markets.” PhD Thesis, SOAS, University of London, 2013.Google Scholar
  13. Marx, Karl. A Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy. Chicago: International Library Publishing, 1972.Google Scholar
  14. Marx, Karl. Grundrisse. London: Penguin, 1973.Google Scholar
  15. Marx, Karl. Capital. Vol. I. London: Penguin, 1976.Google Scholar
  16. Marx, Karl. Capital. Vol. III. London: Penguin, 1981.Google Scholar
  17. Mehrling, Perry. “The Inherent Hierarchy of Money.” In Social Fairness and Economics: Essays in the Spirit of Duncan Foley, edited by Lance Taylor, Armon Rezai, and Thomas Michl, 394–404. New York: Routledge, 2012.Google Scholar
  18. Pozsar, Zoltan. “Shadow Money: The Money View.” Office of Financial Research Working Paper 14-04, 2014. Available at
  19. Pozsar, Zoltan, Adam Ashcraft, and Hayley Boesky. “Shadow Banking.” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report No. 458, 2010.Google Scholar
  20. Vasudevan, Ramaa. “From the Gold Standard to the Floating Dollar Standard: An Appraisal in the Light of Marx’s Theory of Money.” Review of Radical Political Economics 41, no. 4 (2009): 473–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Vasudevan, Ramaa. “Quantitative Easing Through the Prism of the Barings Crisis in 1890: Central Banks and the International Money Market.” Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics 37, no. 1 (2014): 91–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Vasudevan, Ramaa. “The Significance of Marx’s Theory of Money.” Economic and Political Weekly 52, no. 37 (2017): 70–82.Google Scholar
  23. Vasudevan, Ramaa. “Shadow Money in the Nineteenth Century: Is Marx Relevant for Understanding Contemporary Shadow Money.” Review of Political Economy 30, no. 3 (2018): 461–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramaa Vasudevan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Personalised recommendations