Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Karl Marx’s Life 1842–1844

With the dismissal of Bruno Bauer from the University of Bonn in March 1842, Marx’s career prospects were bleak, and so were his chances of marrying Jenny von Westphalen (1814–1881), to whom he had been engaged since 1836.

But Marx turned to journalism and political activism. He moved to Cologne in 1842, and became a journalist, writing for the liberal journal the Rheinische Zeitung (Rhineland News) (Wheen 2001: 35). The audience of this publication was diverse and included Young Hegelians, middle class liberals and the emerging Communist intellectuals (influenced by the ideas of Henri de Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier).

Marx’s ideas in these years seem to have been largely a form of political liberalism, and he defended the freedom of the press and criticised Prussian authoritarianism (Sperber 2014: 85–87).

Marx also downplayed Young Hegelian atheism and hostility to religion (Sperber 2014: 93). One reason for this was the highly damaging role that the Young Hegelian “Society of Free Men” movement in Berlin did to the left Hegelian cause. The “Society of Free Men” was an ultra-radical Young Hegelian group dedicated to shocking contemporaries by their atheism, hostility to organised Christian religion, and drunken antics in Berlin (Sperber 2014: 93) (the young Friedrich Engels was a member of this group). Marx disapproved and this eventually caused a breach of relations with Bruno Bauer (Sperber 2014: 93).

Marx served as informal editor of the Rheinische Zeitung between October 1842 and February 1843 (Sperber 2014: 79). Curiously, when he served as informal editor he steered the paper’s editorial policy towards less support for Young Hegelian radicalism and to strong support for free trade, and apparently maintained support for free trade throughout the rest of his life (Sperber 2014: 92).

But while Marx first studied socialist ideas while in Cologne in 1842 – probably the ideas of Victor Considérant, Pierre Leroux, and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (Sperber 2014: 97) – his assessment of them in this year was quite negative, even hostile (Sperber 2014: 96, 99; Wheen 2001: 43). What is more, the Young Hegelian “Society of Free Men” was associated with radical socialism, and Marx had already taken a dislike to this group (Wheen 2001: 43).

When the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung accused the Rheinische Zeitung of advocating communism, Marx wrote a reply in the Rheinische Zeitung angrily rejecting the charge on October 16, 1842, and even stated:
“The Rheinische Zeitung, which cannot concede the theoretical reality of communist ideas even in their present form, and can even less wish or consider possible their practical realization, will submit these ideas to a thorough criticism. If the Augsburg paper demanded and wanted more than slick phrases, it would see that writings such as those of Leroux, Considerant, and above all Proudhon's penetrating work, can be criticized, not through superficial notions of the moment, but only after long and deep study. We consider such ‘theoretical’ works the more seriously as we do not agree with the Augsburg paper, which finds the ‘reality’ of communist ideas not in Plato but in some obscure acquaintance who, not without some merit in some branches of scientific research, gave up the entire fortune that was at his disposal at the time and polished his confederates’ dishes and boots, according to the will of Father Enfantin. We are firmly convinced that it is not the practical Attempt, but rather the theoretical application of communist ideas, that constitutes the real danger; for practical attempts, even those on a large scale, can be answered with cannon as soon as they become dangerous, but ideas, which conquer our intelligence, which overcome the outlook that reason has riveted to our conscience, are chains from which we cannot tear ourselves away without tearing our hearts; they are demons that man can overcome only by submitting to them.”
Marx, “Communism and the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung,” October 16, 1842, Rheinische Zeitung
It is rather starting (to say the least) to see Marx – the future communist – proclaiming that the best way to deal with any communists putting their ideas into practice is by using cannons on them!

But even Marx’s bourgeois liberalism was too much for the Prussian government and the Rheinische Zeitung was banned by the government and ceased publication in April 1843 (Sperber 2014: 104). A curious historical titbit emerges: when Marx was at a stockholders’ meeting of the paper at around this time he spoke with a lisp and a thick Rhineland accent and was no great orator (Sperber 2014: 105; Wheen 2001: 39).

In 1843, Marx got a position as a writer for the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher (German-French Annals) from Arnold Ruge which was to be published in Paris. The salary that Marx was offered allowed him to marry Jenny von Westphalen on 19 June, 1843 (Sperber 2014: 109–110). After a honeymoon, Marx and Jenny lived in Kreuznach before leaving for Paris in October 1843.

Around this time, Marx was influenced by Feuerbach’s materialist interpretation of Hegel, though was not immediately willing to accept it (Sperber 2014: 112).

Marx’s move to Paris brought him into contact with radical groups far more diverse than in Germany, but the German Young Hegelian liberalism that Marx and Arnold Ruge supported did not much interest the French communists or liberals (Sperber 2014: 120). Many of the early socialists and Communists in Paris saw their ideology in strongly voluntarist, Christian terms, and so disliked the Young Hegelian atheism (Sperber 2014: 120).

Only one issue of the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher appeared in 1844 (Wheen 2001: 64) and in it we have two of Marx’s important early writings:
(1) “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right,” Deutsch-Französische Jahrbucher, February, 1844, and

(2) “On the Jewish Question,” Deutsch-Französische Jahrbucher, February, 1844.
These marked a shift in Marx’s thinking towards revolutionary politics and he now thought that a proletarian revolution in Germany was what was needed (Sperber 2014: 125–126).

However, Marx and Arnold Ruge soon badly fell out (Sperber 2014: 121). Marx’s financial difficulties were overcome when his middle class and liberal admirers in Cologne raised 1,000 talers for him (Sperber 2014: 122).

While Jenny returned to Trier with their new daughter, Marx stayed in Paris, and met, amongst other people, Mikhail Bakunin and Friedrich Engels (Sperber 2014: 135).

According to Sperber (2014: 137), Marx first met Friedrich Engels on August 23, 1844 in Paris, but Wheen (2001: 75) places their first meeting on 16 November, 1842 in Cologne.

Whatever the case, it was only in the 1850s that Marx and Engels cemented their friendship. Engels, who was already an atheist and communist, had published articles in both the Rheinische Zeitung and Deutsch-Französische Jahrbucher, and so was interested to meet Marx on a return trip from England in 1844.

Still in Paris, Marx now became attached to the journal Vorwärts! (Forward!) and his attachment to socialism now became evident in his journalism (Sperber 2014: 136).

In 1844, Marx wrote extended papers running to about 50,000 words called the “Paris Manuscripts” or “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844” (Wheen 2001: 68), which were only published well after his death in 1927, and which discussed a wide array of topics, from economics, Feuerbach’s materialism and critique of Hegel to money, property and the alienation of workers (Sperber 2014: 142).

From the 1844 manuscripts we learn that Marx had embarked in that year on a reading of political economy, and in particular the works of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and James Mill in French translation, Jean-Baptiste Say and Wilhelm Schulz (Sperber 2014: 142; Wheen 2001: 68). He drew the same pessimistic lessons on the future of a capitalist society as found in Ricardo and saw a future of stagnant subsistence wage for workers, low profits and a stationary state (Sperber 2014: 143). When these economic ideas were combined with Feuerbach’s materialist interpretation of Hegel, we can see the genesis of Marx’s economic theories, and so much so that Marx referred to Feuerbach’s work as the “philosophical basis of socialism” (Sperber 2014: 146; Wheen 2001: 55).

Marx’s Paris years were ended when the Prussian government demanded his expulsion and the French government agreed to this, and Marx left France in January 1845 (Sperber 2014: 146).

I end on another interesting titbit I missed in my last post: because of his swarthy appearance Marx acquired the nickname “the Moor” – apparently as early as his university days in Bonn in 1836 (Sperber 2014: 38; Wheen 2001: 37).

Chronology of Marx’s Life
5 May 1818 – Karl Marx born to Heinrich Marx (a middle class lawyer) and Henrietta Pressburg in Trier

1830–1835 – Marx attended Trier High School

1835–1836 – Marx attended the University of Bonn to study law

1836–1840 – Marx attended the University of Berlin and joined the Young Hegelians

April 1841 – Marx was awarded his PhD from the University of Jena called The Difference between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature

1842 – Marx moved to Cologne in 1842, and became a journalist, often writing for Rheinische Zeitung

1843 – on 19 June Marx marries Jenny von Westphalen

October 1843–1845 – Marx moves to Paris and writes for the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher (German-French Annals) and then Vorwärts! (Forward!).

28 August 1844 – Marx meets Friedrich Engels in Paris

1843–1845 – Marx studies political economy, including the works of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, James Mill and others.

April 1845 – Marx moves from Paris to Brussels

1845–1847 – Marx lives in Brussels in Belgium

July 1845 – Marx and Engels visit Britain

1847 – Marx publishes The Poverty of Philosophy

December 1847 to January 1848 – Marx and Engels write The Communist Manifesto

1848 – Marx in France

1848 – Marx moved to Cologne

1848–1849 – Marx in Cologne

August 1849 – Marx moves to London from Paris

1849–1883 – Marx lives in London.

1864 – Marx elected to the International Workingmen's Association (First International)

1859 – Marx published A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy

1867 – the first volume of Das Kapital published

1875 – Marx writes the letter that would become The Critique of the Gotha Program

December 1881 – Marx’s wife Jenny dies

14 March 1883 – Marx dies in London of bronchitis and pleurisy

1885 – the second volume of Das Kapital published by Engels

1894 – the third volume of Das Kapital published by Engels

1895 – Engels dies.
Sperber, Jonathan. 2014. Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life. Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York.

Wheen, Francis. 2001. Karl Marx: A Life. W. W. Norton & Company, New York and London.


  1. what do you think of this explanation of the labour theory of value: http://www.mutualist.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/MPE.pdf

    1. It says that Marx's LTV was derived from Ricardo and the Classical economists. Everyone agrees with this.

  2. If it's of interest, here is a mixed review of Sperber's book. The opening paragraph, which cites a number of others, speaks well of Wheen's book, though.

    1. It's "mixed" according to the reviewer only because Sperber's biography is critical and he doesn't think Marx's thought has much to offer people today. I call that an eminently sensible view of Marx.

      Sperber's biography -- from my own impressions of it -- is good scholarship and not some Marxist hagiography.

    2. Yes, it's good because it agrees with you and the reviewer had criticisms because it disagrees with him. Surely this matter goes no deeper than that, and there are no actual discussion to be had on any of the points raised therein, nor questions of scientific practice or theory to consider when we have the dismissal of a sympathetic scholar.

      This is indeed how science has been conducted in economics for quite some time. Excellent impression of a neoclassical.

    3. We've already had vast discussion here and I've shown how Marx's economics should be of historical interest only; how the LTV is badly flawed; and how Marx's other economic ideas have long been superseded by Post Keynesian theories.

      That is good economic analysis and good science.

    4. I remember the conversations vividly, but I don't recall where you ever demonstrated any of those things. Do you have a link? It would interest me greatly.

    5. "I remember the conversations vividly, but I don't recall where you ever demonstrated any of those things. "

      Of course you don't. You are a Marxist True Believer. You once even said that you know of no error Marx ever made.

    6. Rude.

      I've already told you that I don't believe Marx to be infallible; in fact, you have a distinct advantage in this discussion because as I said before I very much WANT him to be wrong. I merely said I haven't personally identified a theoretical error, but I don't rule out that one could exist. I also asked you to share one if you could, and you could not. In other words, you don't know of any theoretical error Marx made, either. By your own standard, that makes you a True Believer, apparently.

      Your solution to this seems to be to just believe all the more fervently in this error you cannot demonstrate.

      You can hurl your insults as you please, but the indelible fact is this: by showing a consistent lack of respect for epistemology, for scientific discourse and the process of critique, and even honesty itself at one or two points, you have revealed yourself to be ten times the ideologue I could ever in my most intellectually negligent moments allow myself to become. Seeing it in action, it's not pretty.

      And that assessment, unlike your remark, was not intended as an insult; it was an observation, the likes of which I can actually back up with examples.

      It is a hassle, but I remain willing to look past all of the above, because I still basically like your blog. However, until you grasp that a proper critique calls for understanding first and demolition second, you'll only continue to add to the confusion in a subject already riven with popular misconception. It helps no one, and hinders actual, serious discourse. If you're comfortable with that being your contribution to this subject, then so be it, but that's not science; it's the "i" word.

    7. "I also asked you to share one if you could, and you could not. In other words, you don't know of any theoretical error Marx made, either. By your own standard, that makes you a True Believer,."

      That is rich.

      Despite my long critiques of the LTV? (E.g., why isn't animal or slave labour capable of creating labour value?)

      Despite my contention that Marx's explanation of business cycles is flawed and underdeveloped?

      Despite the fact that Marx nowhere shows proper understanding of subjective value?

      Despite the lack of any explanatory power in your weird aggregate interpretation of the LTV?

    8. Andre Gorz in the 1960s and 1970s, he was a main theorist in the New Left movement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Gorz

      - Farewell to the Proletariat (interview)
      - This interview was published in 1983, the year following publication of the book of the same name.
      -Farewell to the Proletariat
      Andre Gorz

      "Q: In 1958, in your book The Traitor you said the ultimate objective for any intellectual was to join the Communist Party, and now you've issued your Farewell to the Proletariat. So who changed, you, the Communist Party or the proletariat?

      Andre Gorz: Everything's changed: the structure of the economy, society, the working class, the means of production and therefore the future. And it's no surprise that the labor movement, formed by the historical past, is weakened rather than radicalized by this crisis. If we are searching for a noncapitalist outcome to this crisis, and even more crucially what potential it holds for the construction of a different kind of society, the labor movement, with its parties and its unions, has little to offer. Obviously nothing can happen without it, but it is no longer the inner sanctum for the elaboration of postcapitalist ideas, practice and values.

      Q: Nevertheless there seems to have been an important rupture in your thinking.

      AG: I think that it's less a rupture than a constant preoccupation in front of a changing reality. Concerning the proletariat, I haven't changed that much. Thirty years ago, when I first wondered why communist thought and the working class exercised such a guilty fascination for young intellectuals, myself included, I had to admit that it was a kind of religious temptation. Marxism, in its successive forms, always brought its own religion of the proletariat. Crucifixion, resurrection, salvation through faith, we had them all. The religious character of the faith in the working class is quite clear in the young Marx.

      When you discover the religious character of a suppasedly scientific theory, you can no longer be a believer in "good faith"; you are bound to question it. In my first pieces, and especially in Foundations for a Morality, I objected that it didn't help much to learn that the proletariat bore within it the meaning of history if that meaning wasn't proven to be the best, the most valuable, and thus most deserving of adherence in short, that in the working class necessity coincided with freedom and morality wih history. But this demonstration is lacking."

    9. Despite my long critiques of the LTV? (E.g., why isn't animal or slave labour capable of creating labour value?)

      A "critique" handily and obviously rebuffed is nothing to crow about. "How do capitalists treat labor that does not enter into capitalist relations of production?" The answer is "like capital." This is obvious; anyone who's run a ranch (or studied slave plantations in the U.S. South) can tell you as much.

      So much of this becomes obvious when you consider that this is from the perspective of capital. Thus, a capitalist with a factory sees a machine as a fixed cost with labor as more or less valuable depending on how much it is able to squeeze from said machines in the time allotted. The machine won't work all by itself, and if it did then the output would just be arbitraged down to the cost of the input.

      If slaves are treated as machinery, then the workers productive of value are the field bosses who are able to squeeze the most out of their toil. After all, as with said machinery, slaves have no reason to labor for their master without some threat of violence.

      Despite my contention that Marx's explanation of business cycles is flawed and underdeveloped?

      I just quickly went over all of your posts and comments and you've never voiced such a contention. The closest you came was to say it starts to look rather Keynesian through Heinrich's interpretation, which should surprise no one; all of the facets of PK analysis you believe to be important for explaining business cycles are already present in Marx, plus more.

      Despite the fact that Marx nowhere shows proper understanding of subjective value?

      To the extent that "subjective value" is in any respect meaningful to economics, I have shown that he did treat with it. You wish to go beyond this, to the specifically marginalist, numerical conceptions of utility, which IMO add nothing to a concept of demand. Whatever, that's fine. You're entitled to your personal aesthetics.

      But "Marx's theory isn't [a different theory]" is not a critique.

      Despite the lack of any explanatory power in your weird aggregate interpretation of the LTV?

      Aggregation is not a feature of "my" interpretation; literally every Marxist economist I've read in every interpretive camp aggrees that Marx holds value and price equal in aggregate. Not all of them are able to reproduce his results from his premises, however. Of these camps, I back the only one that can "deduce the author’s main analytical conclusions from her definitions and premises," (that "principle of scientific exegesis" I mentioned).

    10. " "How do capitalists treat labor that does not enter into capitalist relations of production?" The answer is "like capital." "

      lol.. If the LTV is going to be defended by what capitalists think or how capitalists treat factor inputs, then you haven't got a leg to stand on.

      Capitalists do not impute a mysterious labour value to their commodity output. Presumably this is enough to convince you the LTV is flawed? No? I thought not!

      "You wish to go beyond this, to the specifically marginalist, numerical conceptions of utility,"

      No, I do not. You are just inventing straw man arguments.

    11. Capitalists do not impute a mysterious labour value to their commodity output.

      Correct, because what happens in their accounts is not "mysterious" at all. Set aside the spooky language, please. They don't use phrases like "SNLT," but that's just an analytical term anyway. We can call it "quuquuzi" if you like. The point is that when capitalists attempt to make the most of their investment, they're evaluating the results on the basis of a kind of value (i.e., that of capital), and it is *this* Marx analyzes.

      No, I do not. You are just inventing straw man arguments.

      Are you kidding me? I repeatedly tried to get you to clarify what aspect of subjective utility you felt went unaddressed in Marx. The conversation went like this:

      You: "No proper theory of the commodity will ever be coherent and well developed until subjective value is brought into the discussion."

      Me: "Subjective value is implied in use-value and demand exerts an effect on price." [I then directed you to a blurb from the Anarchist FAQ (not even Marxist!) that showed your argument to be a straw man.]

      You: "Tell me where Marx shows an understanding of subjective value."

      Then I referred you to some of Marx's earliest work demonstrating that yes, he understood the role of supply and demand from the outset.

      Then you said: "I am asking you to explain where Marx shows understanding of **subjective value/utility**, not demand."

      That's where the communication broke down, as you flatly ignored my requests for clarification. Interpreting you to mean a specifically marginalist conception of utility is not unfounded, given what you've said. Otherwise, the notion that market demand is driven by subjective wants and needs is beyond obvious -- it's implied in the very concept. And as I said, if the problem is that he didn't use the word "utility" specifically, that's an aesthetic issue and not a theoretical one.

      So, let's try this again. I'll ask it in exactly the same way I did last time:

      "You've distinguished subjective utility from demand and asserted a role for the former not expressed as the latter. Can you describe such a role? I don't think you're saying sellers are psychic, so what *are* you saying?"

      Can you answer this? If not, just say so.

    12. Subjective utility in an economic context means the subjective desires, feelings, pleasure, or satisfaction derived from consuming a good or even imagined as happening if you were to buy it. It lies BEHIND demand.

      It is manifestly an important -- and real -- sense of economic value, since anyone can see by the empirical evidence of their own personal introspection that they derive these feelings from goods they have or might wish to have.

      That you cannot directly aggregate subjective utility in a meaningful way doesn't change this. And, yes, suitably, reformatted and shorn of its neoclassical aspects, it certainly has a role to play in Post Keynesian economics:


      Post Keynesian (PK) economics -- unlike your Marxist twaddle -- understands the fundamental role of subjectivism in economic life, whether it is in utility, expectations, probability etc. Marx never understood economics properly in the way PKians do. His economics is obsolete and archaic.

      I imagine if you Marxists were forced to discuss these issues seriously you would quickly become parasites off PK theory -- just as you do when you discuss price theory.

    13. As expected, you did not answer my question. Does subjective utility exert an economic role *other than* through demand? If so, what is it?

      I understand that it lies BEHIND demand. I've said as much already. I've also said that it's irrelevant whether you treat market demand as stemming from subjective utility or alien radio signals beamed directly to our brains; it's still the demand that affects prices, rather than the utility. Holding a preference means nothing to the market until it is revealed.

      [Marx's] economics is obsolete and archaic.

      "Eww, it's OLD" haha. Nice.

      "Obsolete" is particularly egregious in its falsehood, given that we're still in a capitalist system (a real "howler," you might say). You are, of course, in no position to make any such claim, being unfamiliar with the modern literature. But the important thing is you believe you're right. You have faith that goes beyond any "book-learning" or "scholarship." And that means something subjectively, which is the only -jectively that counts, eh?

      I imagine if you Marxists were forced to discuss these issues seriously you would quickly become parasites off PK theory -- just as you do when you discuss price theory.

      See, this is especially hilarious since PK economists have, with a handful of exceptions, spent the past century very slowly reinventing the wheel on things Marx already had down pat. Effective demand, endogenous money, persistent unemployment and crashes, historical-time analysis and non-equilibrium modeling, etc. I don't call y'all "parasites" for investigating these things subsequently, partly because I attempt to bring a modicum of modesty and respect into my discussions (hint, hint), and partly because I understand that we're all laboring to uncover the truth here.

      I'm quite pleased enough to see people basically headed in a good direction, even if I find it kind of inadequate in some ways. PK price theory has developed in much the same way Marxists view it, and so I've paid the appropriate compliments. But it seems now it's gone to your head and you've gotten the wrong idea. Perhaps in the future I'll be more guarded in my positive sentiments around you, until you can show me you're as dedicated to comprehension as you are to trying to score cheap points.

    14. (1) "Does subjective utility exert an economic role *other than* through demand?

      Of course it does: it is exploited in advertising so that businesses can administer their prices, often independently of demand in the conventional sense.

      (2) it is laughable how you think Marx's was doing anything original in writing things about endogenous money theory: that was already well known to the Banking school well before Marx's hare-brained ramblings in Capital.

      Moreover, demand-side explanations already appeared in Malthus too (indeed Keynes took great inspiration from Malthus). Even more, the Birmingham School already had a proto-Keynesian analysis of markets. Thomas Attwood and even Marshall understood quite well what we now call debt deflation.

      If Marx wasn't such a communist crank, he might have invented a real coherent anticipation of Keynes - instead of building fantasies on the LTV.

    15. 1) That's not an answer. Firms cans set prices as they please; if the demand doesn't actually support the administered price, that results in excess unsold inventory and contraction. You can moon all you want about the rubber and the road, but ultimately they've still got to meet for anything to happen.

      2) Yes, yes, I know all of this. "But the Banking School were just cribbing off the Real Bills Doctrine theorists," etc. Literally nothing is developed in a vacuum. My point is if you're going to accuse a near-neighbor school of "parasitism," you'd best make sure you've got your timeline in order, since Marxists were saying all of this before there was even a Keynes of whom a movement could be Post.

      Obviously, many of those ideas didn't originate with him. But they all do flow naturally from his completed value theory. If it is indeed wrong, contrary to the evidence, then it's quite a feat that it gets so much else so very right, no?

      Marx could indeed have been an anticipation of Keynes, had he developed differently. But it would have been a step down.

    16. "But they all do flow naturally from his completed value theory"

      What utter rubbish. An endogenous money theory does not "flow" from Marx's absurd LTV. In fact, you have already admitted that the LTV doesn't even explain any individual price formation at all. And it certainly doesn't explain endogenous money.

      If you had done your research, you would know that Marx took and incorporated fundamental ideas on endogenous money right from Thomas Tooke. See Smith, Matthew. 2004. “Thomas Tooke’s Legacy to Monetary Economics,” in Tony Aspromourgos and John Lodewijks (eds.), History and Political Economy: Essays in Honour of P.D. Groenewegen. Routledge, London. 57–75, specifically at 62–65.

      So basically it was Marx who was the hack relying on earlier economists here.

    17. An endogenous money theory does not "flow" from Marx's absurd LTV. In fact, you have already admitted that the LTV doesn't even explain any individual price formation at all.

      It's okay if you don't understand the point I am making, so long as you understand that you don't understand it. That gives us a foundation on which to launch inquiry and thereby improve our understanding. If only you understood that. Instead, you just huff, "nah that's bollocks," and hurl a sippy cup across the room. How utterly boring.

      You should know by now that "at all" is too strong a claim re: prices. I've already explained why, but you don't appear to care much for nuance, instead demanding tidy slate of monocauses. Well, tough. That's not how reality works.

      If you had done your research, you would know that Marx took and incorporated fundamental ideas on endogenous money right from Thomas Tooke.

      Ill-advised assumption about what I do or do not know, check. Red herring, check. Quick, while I'm stunned, tell me about the influence of Ludwig von Westphalen. Surely that will drive home your point that Marx... learned from others. Coincidentally, that was my point, too, but that matters little, for I will have been vanquished already, somehow! And you will be the Winner -- the long-sought brass ring of this month-long saga of incomprehension.

      So basically it was Marx who was the hack relying on earlier economists here.

      See, you call that hackery. In academia, studying, drawing upon, and building upon the work of others is referred to as "scholarship."

      This discussion is really bringing some things into perspective for me.

    18. "Ill-advised assumption about what I do or do not know, check."

      hmmm.. So you admit that Marx just took the essence of his ideas on endogenous money right from Thomas Tooke?

      Care to give a straight answer to a straight question, old chap?

    19. Your question suggests I'm the one in this discussion who routinely dodges or ignores questions. Further, you say "admit" as though the fact that Marx stood on the shoulders of giants were something I ever obfuscated. I just don't get you, lately.

      To the point: Tooke was indeed an influence, but by no means the only one. And just as Marx referenced and discussed Banking School theorists extensively (there's literally an entire chapter in Capital vol. 3 discussing the views of Tooke and Fullarton), he also criticized them on some points. In the last analysis, there are striking similarities, as exist between any of the various extant treatments of endogenous money, such as horizontalists/accommodationists and structuralists. However, Marx also explicated his own general notions of endogeneity on a different basis, stemming from his theory of money, which in turn stems from his value theory.

      Hope that clears things up, my dude.

  3. Hegel shows how someone can attract a following as a great thinker in one century, and then fall into obscurity a century or two later. Does any living philosopher of note call himself a "Hegelian" these days?

    By contrast, Spinoza's reputation has waxed and waned since the late 17th Century, but lately historians of ideas have come around to attributing a lot more importance to him as a philosopher than previous generations of scholars had recognized. For example, Spinoza doesn't seem that important in the chapter devoted to him in Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy, published about 70 years ago.Today some historians like Jonathan Israel credit Spinoza for his largely covert role in starting the revolution in thinking that led to the Enlightenment.