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Karl Marx





Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a philosopher, economists and a revolutionary. The first volume of his Das Kapital was published in 1867 but the rest of his work did not appear until after his death. His theory explains the origin and the historical development of the

capitalist economic system. Class analysis, the central component of Marxism, is not peculiar to Marx but was shared by contemporary political economists, such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo.

The center of Marx's economics was the labor theory of value. Marx assumed that it is labor power that gives value to a commodity – both the direct labor and the indirect labor embodied in buildings or machinery used up in the productive process. Marx realized that, under competitive capitalism, market prices would not necessarily equal labor values because capitalists receive an excess in revenues over labor costs – a surplus value by which Marx meant the difference between revenues and total labor costs.

The economic interpretation of history is one of Marx s lasting contributions to Western thought. Marx argued that economic interests lie behind and determine our values. Why do business executives vote for conservative candidates, while labor leaders support those who advocate raising the minimum wage or increasing unemployment benefits? The reason, Marx held, is that people's beliefs and ideologies reflect the material interests of their social and economic class.





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