The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Ernest Mandel
Reference work entry


The term ‘communism’ was first used in modern times to designate a specific economic doctrine (or regime), and a political creed intending to introduce such a regime, by the French lawyer Etiénne Cabet in the late 1830s; his works, especially the utopia LIcarie, were influential among the Paris working class before the revolution of 1848. In 1840, the first ‘communist banquet’ was held in Paris – banquets and banquet speeches were a common form of political protest under the July monarchy. The term spread rapidly, so that Karl Marx could entitle one of his first political articles of 16 October 1842 ‘Der Kommunismus und die Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung’. He noted that ‘communism’ was already an international movement, manifesting itself in Britain and Germany besides France, and traced its origin to Plato. He could have mentioned ancient Jewish sects and early Christian monasteries too.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Marx, K., and Engels, F. 1845–6. The German ideology. As in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected works, vol.5. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1976.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernest Mandel
    • 1
  1. 1.