Marx Studies

The Marx Studies Page is dedicated to the discussion of classical Marxist texts. Many of the contributions are of a Marxologist type. They are not representing a Marxist project which is always a critique of bourgeois theory and practice, but they are discussing those Marxist projects themselves. Most of them are reactionary – although they often use verbal revolutionary jargon – and hinder the labour movement. This is why people who conducted such studies, like Isaak Rubin, were often persecuted in the real existing socialist countries.

But of course there are also Marx studies aiming at familiarising classical Marxist texts. These works are presented here.

David Harvey – A course of Reading Marx\’ Capital

This is a remarkable effort of a British geographer who became professor in the U.S. and devoted his work to Marxism. Although his Marx Reading course suffers from Anti-Sovietism and a lack of profound economic theory it is still a most charming attempt to bring Marx’s thought close to the student. His presentation is authentic Marx, an admirable performance.

We shall refer to his presentation to identify issues for our economic debate. A first remark on his presentation of the concept of value as socially necessary labour time (class 01, 1.10 hours ff.). Please notice that the determination of the socially necessary labour time is a social process and it happens on the markets. In fact supply and demand determine the price or the exchange value representing the value of the commodity and its socially necessary labour time.

It is therefore obviously most interesting to investigate how one can construct these demand and supply curves on the basis of Marx’s theory of the creation of value in the production process. This implies to devise concepts which enable us to create relationships between labour time and quantities of the product supplied or demanded. This is the clue for the articles on this MIME site using the concept of Marginal Labour, a key concept of modern Marxian economics.


On Socially Necessary Labour

by Klaus Hagendorf, Dec. 3, 2013

Socially necessary labour time is a key concept in Marxian economic theory. However it is hardly ever properly discussed. This article presents the English translation of a section of a textbook on political economy of socialism published in the former German Democratic Republic in 1974 by an author collective of the Institute of Social Sciences of the Central Committee of the SED, the socialist party. Although it contains some serious errors it shows that prices of production are proportional to labour values. This does not only apply to socialism but also to perfect competition economies as here also capital accumulation is a social necessity and has to be included in the calculation of labour values. The fact that most Western Marxian works do not include capital accumulation as part of socially necessary labour time leads to serious contradictions and uselessness which was even sometimes recognized by those theorists themselves.

The Principles of Economic Policy of the Communist Party Explained to Economists

by Klaus Hagendorf. 2014

“Les principes de la politique du Parti communiste français” Paris: edition sociales; 1976. was a standard introductory text to the political principles of the party for new members of the French Communist Party. This paper takes up the economic arguments in the book. In particular the economic foundations of the theory of exploitation is explained using the orthodox methodology of marginal analysis. At the same time is provided a strong fundamental criticism of neoclassical value analysis.

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