An Essay on Marxian Economics

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An Essay on Marxian Economics
An Essay on Marxian Economics, first edition.jpg
Cover of the first edition
AuthorJoan Robinson
CountryUnited Kingdom
SubjectKarl Marx
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)

An Essay on Marxian Economics is a 1942 book about the philosopher Karl Marx by the economist Joan Robinson.


An Essay on Marxian Economics received a positive review from the economist Eric Roll in The Yale Law Journal. Roll considered the book important. He maintained that its appearance alongside the Marxian economist Paul Sweezy's The Theory of Capitalist Development (1942) represented "a significant landmark in the development of economic thinking."[1] Sweezy described the book as the first work by a major British economist to show interest in Marx since the 19th century, calling it "very interesting".[2] The political scientist David McLellan described the book as "an impressive attempt to revitalise Marx's main economic doctrines."[3]

The Marxian economist Ernest Mandel accused Robinson of misinterpretations of Marx similar to those of the socialist economist Rosa Luxemburg. He rejected Robinson's view that the first and third volumes of Marx's Das Kapital make contradictory assumptions about real wages. He argued that Robinson fails to understand that the first and third volumes are at different levels of abstraction, deal with different questions, and make different assumptions in order to clarify the specific dynamics which allow answers to them.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roll 1943, pp. 687–690.
  2. ^ Sweezy 1984, p. xi.
  3. ^ McLellan 1995, p. 445.
  4. ^ Mandel 1991, pp. 29–30.


  • Mandel, Ernest (1991). "Introduction by Ernest Mandel". Capital, Volume 1. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-044570-6.
  • McLellan, David (1995). Karl Marx: A Biography. London: Papermac. ISBN 0-333-63947-2.
  • Sweezy, Paul M. (1984). "Editor's Introduction". In Sweezy, Paul M. (ed.). Karl Marx and the Close of His System and Böhm-Bawerk's Criticism of Marx. New York: Orion Editions. ISBN 0-87991-250-2.
  • Roll, Eric (1943). "Reviewed Works: The Theory of Capitalist Development by Paul M. Sweezy; An Essay on Marxian Economics by Joan Robinson". The Yale Law Journal. 52 (3). doi:10.2307/792264.