IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Marx: The Spectre Haunting Economics

Listed author(s):
  • Freeman, Alan

This paper was presented to the 1998 conference of the Brazil Society for Political Economy. Two short sections are flagged for later incorporation, and this never happened so the article is until now unpublished. The ground these were to address is fully covered elsewhere, however this text contains material that does not exist anywhere else, so for the record I am depositing it with Repec. The original abstract follows: The paper examines the present state of the discipline of economics in the light of Marx's Critique of political economy. Marx's dedication to the study of economic theory is without parallel in the history of the subject; yet, in the work of the economists of today, he receives less attention than in any other subject. Moreover the profession's unanimous official teaching, repeated tirelessly and dogmatically for most of this century, is that Marx's development of the classical theory of value leads irrevocably into contradiction, that therefore the further development of this theory is fruitless and the only alternative is its current orthodoxy. This state of affairs is called into question by an internal crisis of economics, provoked by a combination of two factors: the appalling failure of its official remedies, and the political defeat of Keynesianism. Major international institutions such as UNCTAD, the World Bank and the IMF are in open conflict over their predictions and recommendations concerning globalisation; the profession itself faces a growing body of internal criticism, and heterodox economic associations are flourishing. The abandonment of Keynesian economic remedies, the consequent loss of influence by economics in policy-making circles, and the relegation of economics to the status of an ancillary of banking and commerce, has accelerated this crisis. The large body of economists displaced from positions of influence at the ears of governments have been reflecting more carefully than before on the transitory nature of market phenomena. This paper proposes a materialist analysis of the theory and practice of academic economics, the body of thought which Marx dubbed the 'graveyard of economics'. It proposes to subject the claim of the profession to be acting as a science to a rigorous theoretical enquiry, examining both its reaction to the empirical facts of its failures, and the manner in which its theoretical categories express the material interests to which it is subjected. The aim is not dismiss the profession and its products as simple apologetics, but to uncover the internal structure of its thought and to propose an alternative, critical standard of scientific conduct for economic enquiry under a market economy.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 52837.

in new window

Date of creation: Apr 1998
Date of revision: Jun 1998
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:52837
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstra├če 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2459
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-992459
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:52837. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.