Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Tell Aviv Office has interviewed three Marxists for our marx200.org website and asked them what significance and influence Marx’s critique of political economy still has in the present day.
Our interviewees were: Rawda Murkos, who is writing her Phd thesis about work of Palestinian women in the British Mandate of Palestine and is employed as an English teacher at the al-Salam School in Kufur Yassif; Tal Giladi, who is attaining his doctorate in philosophy at the Hebrew University and conducts Marx reading courses at the “Left Center” in Tel Aviv; as well as Moshe Zuckermann, sociologist and a professor of history and philosophy at the Tel Aviv University.
What does “Critique” mean in the “Critique of Political Economy”?
Friday, July 7, 2017
“Where science comes in is to show how the law of value asserts itself. So, if one wanted to ‘explain’ from the outset all phenomena that apparently contradict the law, one would have to provide the science before the science […] Why then have science at all?”
(Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 43, p. 67f., Letter from Marx to Kugelmann, London, July 11, 1868)
The words “critique” and “criticism” are often used. When we “criticize” something, we often mean that something is not as it should be. For example, we criticize the fact that there are drastic differences between the amounts in people’s wallets, and that the profits of business are not adequately redistributed.
Marx also engages in criticism in Capital – but in a different way
Marx’s critique is directed against the capitalist mode of production itself, but without making any positive ‘suggestions for improvement’ or proclaiming them as demands.
His critique is also directed against the political economy of the time, that is to say, the scholarly discipline familiar to us today as “economics”. Its most important representatives at the time were Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Among other things, Marx accuses them (and others) of not, or not sufficiently, getting to the bottom of preexisting forms and concepts like value, money, capital, and profit.