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Why Read Marx Today?

Jonathan Wolff

Publication Date - 30 October 2003

ISBN: 9780192805058

144 pages

A thoughtful argument for the relevance of Marx in a post-Soviet world


The fall of the Berlin Wall had enormous symbolic resonance, marking the collapse of Marxist politics and economics. Indeed, Marxist regimes have failed miserably, and with them, it seems, all reason to take the writings of Karl Marx seriously.
Jonathan Wolff argues that if we detach Marx the critic of current society from Marx the prophet of some never-to-be-realized worker's paradise, he remains the most impressive critic we have of liberal, capitalist, bourgeois society. The author shows how Marx's main ideas still shed light on wider concerns about culture and society and he guides the reader through Marx's notoriously difficult writings. Wolff also argues that the value of a great thinker does not depend on his or her views being true, but on other features such as originality, insight, and systematic vision. From this perspective, Marx still richly deserves to be read.
Why Read Marx Today? reinstates Marx as an important critic of current society, and not just a figure of historical interest.

About the Author(s)

Jonathan Wolff is Professor of Philosophy at University College London.


"An engaging read. The author...is a particularly skillful elucidator of political philosophy. In his book, he argues that Marx was misunderstood and that the great man was right about far more than he is given credit for."--The Economist

Table of Contents

    Contents Introduction
    Marx's Life and Works
    The Plan of this Book
    1: Early Writings Introduction
    The Philosophy of Historical Materialism
    Labour and Alienation
    Money and Credit
    2: Class, History, and Capital Class
    The Economics of Capitalism
    The Transition to Communism
    The Nature of Communism
    3: Assessment Introduction
    Early Writings
    Theory of History
    Human Nature
    Guide to References and Further Reading