The Theory of Capitalist Development

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The Theory of Capitalist Development
The Theory of Capitalist Development (1942 edition).jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Paul Sweezy
Country United States
Language English
Subject Labor theory of value
Published 1942 (Monthly Review Press)
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 398
ISBN 978-0853450795

The Theory of Capitalist Development is a 1942 book by Paul Sweezy, in which Sweezy expounded and defended the labor theory of value.[1] It has received praise as an important work, but Sweezy has also been criticized for misrepresenting Karl Marx's economic theories.


Sweezy expounded and defended the labor theory of value.[1]

Scholarly reception[edit]

Eric Roll reviewed The Theory of Capitalist Development positively in The Yale Law Journal, calling it an important work. Roll wrote that its appearance alongside Joan Robinson's An Essay on Marxian Economics (1942) represented "a significant landmark in the development of economic thinking." Roll credited Sweezy with providing "the first modern comprehensive and systematic exposition of Marxian economic theory in the English language."[2]

Political scientist David McLellan called Sweezy's work the best modern continuation of Marx's economic ideas.[3] Marxist theorist Ernest Mandel accused Sweezy of several misunderstandings of Marx, including confusing prices of production and market prices, a mistake he saw as a result of Sweezy's employment of the work of Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz,[4] a critic of Marx.[5] Mandel compared Sweezy's misunderstandings of Marx to those later made by economist Ian Steedman in his Marx after Sraffa (1977).[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Wolff 1991. pp. 151-152.
  2. ^ Roll 1943.
  3. ^ McLellan 1995. p. 439.
  4. ^ Mandel 1991. p. 27.
  5. ^ Mandel 1974. p. 301.
  6. ^ Mandel 1991. p. 9.


  • Mandel, Ernest (1974). Marxist Economic Theory. London: Merlin Press. 
  • Marx, Karl; Mandel, Ernest (1991). Capital, Volume 1. London: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-044570-6. 
  • McLellan, David (1995). Karl Marx: A Biography. London: Papermac. ISBN 0-333-63947-2. 
  • Wolff, Jonathan (1991). Robert Nozick: Property, Justice and the Minimal State. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1856-3. 
Online articles