The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Marx, Karl Heinrich (1818–1883)

  • Ernest Mandel
Reference work entry


This article summarizes the methodology and economics of Karl Marx. After a brief account of his life, it deals with his historical materialism, and then his labour theory of value, his theories of rent, money, surplus value, and crises, his account of the laws of motion of the capitalism mode of production, and his and Engels’s conception of the economy of post-capitalist societies.


Accumulation of capital Asiatic mode of production Böhm-Bawerk, E. von Bukharin, N. Capitalist mode of production Class Commodity theory of money Communism Concentration (centralization) of capital Constant and variable capital Credit cycles Economic crisis Economic laws Economic science Engels, F. Exploitation Feudalism Hilferding, R. Historical materialism Ideology Invisible hand Iron law of wages Labour power Labour theory of value Land rent Lassalle, F. Laws of motion of capitalism Lenin, V. Market value Marx, K. Mobility of capital Modes of production Monopoly Organic composition of capital Overproduction Paper money Post-capitalist society Prices of production Proletariat Rate of profit Rent Reserve army of labour Ricardo, D. Social polarization Socialism Sraffa, P. Surplus value Technological change Trade unions Transformation problem Underconsumptionism 

JEL Classifications

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  1. There are innumerable books and articles devoted to comments or elaborations on Marx’s economic thought, or which criticize them. We list here those works we refer to in the above text, as well as those we consider the most important ones (based, needless to say, upon subjective judgement).Google Scholar
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  5. Bortkiewicz, L. von. 1907. Zur Berichtigung der grundlegenden theoretischen Konstruktion von Marx im Dritten Band des ‘Kapital’. Trans. P.M. Sweezy as ‘On the Correction of Marx’s Fundamental Theoretical Construction in the Third Volume of Capital’. In Böhm-Bawerk (1949), 197–221.Google Scholar
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  36. Sraffa, D. 1960. Production of commodities by means of commodities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
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  41. Wygodsky, S. 1972. Der gegenwärtige Kapitalismus. Trans. C.S.V. Salt as The Story of a Great Discovery: How Karl Marx wrote ‘Capital’. Tunbridge Wells: Abacus Press.Google Scholar

Bibliographic Addendum

  1. Foley, D. 1986. Understanding capital: Marx’s economic theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Roemer, J. 1981. Analytical foundations of Marxian economic theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Roemer, J. 1988. Free to Lose: An introduction to Marxist economic philosophy. London: Radius.Google Scholar
  4. Outside of economics, important studies include:Google Scholar
  5. Buchanan, A. 1982. Marx and justice. Totowa, NJ: Rowan and Allanhead.Google Scholar
  6. Carver, T. 1998. The post-modern Marx. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cohen, G.A. 1988. History, labour, and freedom: Themes from Marx. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, G.A. 2000. Karl Marx’s theory of history: A defence, 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  9. Elster, J. 1985. Making sense of Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Kain, P. 1989. Marx and ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Roemer, J., ed. 1986. Analytical Marxism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Rockmore, T. 2002. Marx After Marxism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Van den Berg, A. 1989. The immanent Utopia: From Marxism on the state to the state of Marxism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Wolff, J. 2002. Why read Marx today? Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Wood, A. 2004. Karl Marx, 2nd edn. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. All of these are complemented by what remains a classic short introduction to Marx’s ideas:Google Scholar
  17. Berlin, I. 1985. Karl Marx, 4th edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. as well as the standard biography of Marx:Google Scholar
  19. McLellan, D. 1996. Karl Marx: A biography, 3rd revised edn. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  20. Bottomore, T., ed. 1983. A dictionary of Marxist thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  21. is helpful both as a survey and as a mechanism for overcoming language differences between Marxist approaches and others.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernest Mandel
    • 1
  1. 1.