Taking Up the Challenge of Living Labour A ‘Backwards-Looking Reconstruction’ of Recent Italian Debates on Marx’s Theory of the Capitalist Mode of Production

  • Riccardo Bellofiore
  • Frieder Otto Wolf
Part of the Luxemburg International Studies in Political Economy book series (LISPE)


This conviction of mine [i.e. that a reading of the history of Italian Marxisms should be given which is different from that underlying Cristina Corradi’s book (Corradi, Storia dei marxismi in Italia, 2005)] is based, indeed, on the very distinction between Marxists and Marxians, which I consider to be decisive. This distinction is not chronological, as if in the 1970s everybody was a Marxist, while after that, out of the blue, the Marxians arrived and were welcomed. The truth is that such an authentically Marxian thread has, in fact, existed, and is defined by some crucial aspects. First, by a return to Marx’s original problems, which had been buried by Marxism: those linked to the monetary constitution of surplus value and those referring to the re-linking of (new) value to (living) labour. And then, [second,] the absence [in Marx] of any separation between the ‘economic’ sides of these problems and those problems concerning their ‘philosophical’ and ‘sociological’ foundations. Finally, the attempt of taking up the enterprise of the critique of political economy again, in a non-dogmatic and non-repetitive way. This thread dates back, however, and has a long history throughout the twentieth century. In order to bring to light the traces of this development, it is necessary to read the history of the discussion on Marx in a very different way from that practised until now.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riccardo Bellofiore
    • 1
  • Frieder Otto Wolf
    • 2
  1. 1.University of BergamoBergamoItaly
  2. 2.Institute of PhilosophyFree University of BerlinBerlinGermany

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