Marxist economics

Marxist economics

Marxist economics is the study of the laws of motion of capitalist society. Why does capitalism perpetually go into crisis? Why does mass unemployment exist? Are commodity production, the domination of the market, and rich and poor natural, immutable states of being for humanity? Or are they merely the products of this specific mode of production - capitalism? If so, is there any way capitalism can exist without these problems, or by minimising them?

Marxist economics is a “holistic” way of analysing capitalist economy. It starts out by placing it in its real historical context (rather than dreaming up abstract idealisations of capitalism to justify it, as bourgeois economics does), studying all its interconnections and contradictions, rather than artificially isolating one aspect of it. In doing so, Marxist economics lays bare the functioning of capitalism; the exploitation and injustice inherent within it. Those who want to get to the essence of why, in the 21st Century, despite having a more advanced understanding of the world than ever before, humanity seems plunged into perpetual crisis it cannot get to grips with, should look no further than Marxist economics, beginning with the writings of Marx himself.

In this video from the 2018 Revolution Festival, Adam Booth - editor of - provides an overview of the history of money, using a Marxist economic analysis to strip away the veil of mystery that surrounds it.

In this talk from a 2018 'Marx in a Day' event, celebrating Karl Marx's 200th birthday and discussing his key ideas, Rob Sewell (editor of Socialist Appeal) explains the fundamental concepts of Marxist economics.

 "Today, in numerous areas, from automation to green energy to information technology, we are seeing a validation of Marx's assertion: that society's productive forces at a certain stage come into conflict with the way in which society is organised. These "economic singularities", as Adam Booth discusses, demonstrate clearly that the system has broken."


What is money? Where does it come from? And what does it represent?

In this video from a day school on Marxist economics, Ben Gliniecki of the Socialist Appeal Editorial Board discusses the development of Marx's theories on capitalism, examining the classical economists preceding Marx who were influential in shaping his ideas on questions such as the Labour Theory of Value.

In this video from a 2016 Socialist Appeal day school on Marxist economics, James Kilby compares and contrasts the economic theories of Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes, and analyses the material conditions and historic factors that led to the "post-war boom" - the 25 year period of capitalism upswing that followed the end of the Second World War.

In this recording from Red October 2015, Adam Booth - editor of - analyses the current crisis of capitalism and discusses Marx's theories about why capitalism enters into crisis.

In this talk from Revolution 2015 - hosted by the Marxist Student Federation in London - Adam Booth, editor of, explains the historical origins, evolution, and development of money, banking, and the modern financial system under capitalism.

This book is aimed specifically at newcomers to Marxism. A bestseller now in its second edition, it comprises introductory pieces on the three component parts of Marxist theory, corresponding broadly to philosophy, social history and economics: dialectical materialism, historical materialism and Marxist economics. Complementing these introductions are key extracts from some of the great works of Marxism written by its most outstanding figures – Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky.

In their desperate search for profitable fields of investment, the capitalist class, especially the financial oligarchy, has presided over an explosive growth of unproductive expenditure that today threatens to undermine the very edifice of capitalism. As more and more surplus value is siphoned off into unproductive activities, the issue of “productive” and “unproductive” labour has once again resurfaced as a factor contributing to, and a reflection of, the present terminal decline of world


Capitalism is a chaotic system of production beyond the contol of humanity. It is doomed to plunge society into ever greater crises. But why does it enter a crisis and what is the alternative?

The world economy has been mired in a deep crisis since 2007. The bourgeois have tried everything to climb out of the crisis, from quantitative easing, to zero interest rates, to the socialization of banking losses, but all to no avail. Why is it that a modern-day version of Keynesianism cannot work?

What is value? This question has perplexed the human mind for more than 2,000 years. The classical bourgeois economists grappled with the question, as did Marx. After much deliberation, they correctly concluded that labour was the source of value. This idea then became a cornerstone of bourgeois political economy, beginning with Adam Smith. On this question, there was common ground between Marx and the classical bourgeois economists.

The Marxist analysis of history – that is, the dialectical and materialist analysis of history – explains that the main motor force in history is the need for society to develop the productive forces: to increase our knowledge of and mastery over nature; to reduce the socially necessary labour time needed to produce and reproduce the conditions of life; to improve lifestyles and raise the standards of living.

[The following article was originally published in the summer issue of our theoretical magazine In Defence of Marxism] In the last issue of the In Defence of Marxism magazine we polemicized against the theory of “under-consumption” as an explanation of capitalist crisis. In this issue, we wish to look at Marx’s law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall.

A recent BBC documentary series entitled “Masters of Money” examined the ideas of three historical giants in economics: Keynes, Hayek, and Marx. In this article, we compare and contrast their ideas in the context of the current crisis of capitalism, to see if any of these figures and their writings really do have the answers to solve the problems facing society today.

Marx & Engels

“What did Marx mean by the contradictions of capitalism?” asks Samuel Brittan, the right-wing economist writing in the Financial Times. “Basically, that the system produced an ever-expanding flow of goods and services, which an impoverished proletarianised population could not afford to buy. Some 20 years ago, following the crumbling of the Soviet system, this would have seemed outmoded. But it needs another look, following the increase in the concentration of wealth and income.”