2.8 — The Marxist Challenge — Class Content

Meeting Dates

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Assignments Due

Your 1st short paper on the Classical Era is due Friday October 28 by email.


Today we consider the challenges of the industrial revolution on the social fabric of Britain and the European continent: both the liberal revolutions of 1848 and the socialist critiques. We then consider Karl Marx and his economic theory, as well as the politics of Marxian-socialism.


Required Readings

Questions to Help Your Reading

  • What are Marx’s motivations for his analysis?

  • How does Marx’s view of socialism differ from the “utopians” like Robert Godwin?

  • How much of Smith and Ricardo does Marx accept for his premises in economic analysis? Is Marx a classical economist?

  • What did Marx think of Malthusian population theory?

  • What is the difference between use value and surplus value?

  • What is the role of the capitalist in Marxian theory?

  • What is Marx’s theory of history? What is the dialectic? What is historical materialism? What are the means of production, modes of production, superstructure, and base?

  • What are the “laws of capitalism” and the contradictions of capitalism?


Below, you can find the slides in two formats. Clicking the image will bring you to the html version of the slides in a new tab. The lower button will allow you to download a PDF version of the slides.


You can type h to see a special list of viewing options, and type o for an outline view of all the slides.

I suggest printing the slides beforehand and using them to take additional notes in class (not everything is in the slides)!


Download as PDF


Participation/Discussion Board Posts Due 8 PM Fri Oct 21

This week’s graded discussion is worth 5 points, and can be a combination of discussion in class, and/or posts on the Blackboard Discussion Board by 8 PM this Friday October 21.

Tournament Votes

The second round of the Pre-Classical division of the “Most Interesting Economist in History” tournament is live. Please post your votes in the discussion board.