Karl Marx and the Close of His System/Bohm-Bawerk's Criticism of Marx

Karl Marx and the Close of His System/Bohm-Bawerk's Criticism of Marx

Paul M. Sweezy, Eugen Von Bohm-Bawerk, Rudolf Hilferding

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: B000M7I3QO

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Karl Marx and the Close of His System (German: Zum Abschluss des Marxschen Systems) is an 1896 book by Eugen Böhm von Bawerk, published in English translation in 1898. Seen as the "classical" critique of Karl Marx's Capital, most subsequent critiques of Marxist economics have been repetitions of its arguments. Paul Sweezy describes it as the best statement of the view, which he rejects, that since the law of value is not directly controlling in capitalist production, the theory of value must be abandoned.

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to maintain this attitude; as time went on it became more and more urgent to organize a counter-attack. The publication of the third volume of Capital offered the perfect opportunity, and Böhm-Bawerk was a "natural" to take the lead. He had already, in Capital and Interest, established himself as a formidable opponent of Marxism by his attacks on what he called the "exploitation theory" of interest; his international reputation insured that whatever he wrote would receive a wide and respectful

surrender of his own teaching" {Vabdicazione più esplicita alia dottrina stessa)} and the "full and complete adherence to the most orthodox doctrine of the hated economists." 1 And even a man who is so close to the Marxian system as Werner Sombart says that a "general head shaking" best represents the probable effect produced on most readers by the third volume. "Most of them," he says, "will not be inclined to regard !"L'opera postuma di Carlo Marx," Nuova Antolo`gia, February 1895, pp. 20, 22,

proportions with other articles" And "Let us further take two commodities" etc. In the same paragraph the term "things" occurs again, and indeed with the application which is most important for the problem, namely, "that a common factor of equal amount exists in two different things" (which are made equal to each other in exchange). On the next page (p. 44), however, Marx directs his search for the "common factor" only to the "exchange value of commodities" without hinting, even in the faintest

the sphere that it could even have become one "common" property of this narrow sphere. But by its side other properties could claim to be as common. How now is the exclusion of these other competitors effected? It is effected by two arguments, each of a few words only, but which contain one of the most serious of logical fallacies. In the first of these Marx excludes all "geometrical, physical, chemical, or other natural properties of the commodities," for 74 Karl Marx and the Close of His

perpetually reproduced by the mechanism of social life. Under changed historical conditions, modifications of exchange ensue, and the only question is whether these modifications are to be regarded as taking place according to law, and whether they can be represented as modifications of the law of value. If this be so, the law of value, though in modified form, continues to control exchange and the course of prices. All that is necessary is that we should understand the course of prices to be a

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