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Neue Marx-Lektüre

Neue Marx-Lektüre (German for “New Marx Reading″) in its broader meaning refers to the reception of the economic theory of Karl Marx, which started in the mid-1960s in Western and partly Eastern Europe, in distinction from both Marxism-Leninism and Social Democracy. In its specific meaning, Neue Marx-Lektüre refers to a loose group of authors mainly from the German-speaking countries, who go beyond to revise a certain historising and empirical interpretation of Marx' analysis of economic forms which can be traced back to Friedrich Engels.


Departing from the early approaches of Evgeny Bronislavovich Pashukanis and Isaak Illich Rubin in the 1920s, the works submitted by Helmut Reichelt and Hans-Georg Backhaus in the seventies and eighties, and the writings of Michael Heinrich in the nineties, were at the turn of the millennium a partly academic, partly off-academic debate concerning the question of how economic value has evolved. These authors, who meanwhile are labeled by the umbrella term Neue Marx-Lektüre distinguish themselves in a variety of aspects from the traditional Marx reading related with both, the workers movement and state socialism.

The Neue Marx-Lektüre rejects

  • premonetary theories of value, according to which already the single concrete work creates value, and the essence of value is a direct outcome of the invested time of labour. On the contrary the social character of work creating value is emphasized.
  • conceptions of the state as a manipulative instrument of a ruling class. On the contrary, the Staatsableitungsdebatte (State derivation debate) has an understanding of the state as a structurally necessary, but relatively separated part of capitalism.
  • theories of history which lead to the anticipation of a revolution to be accomplished by the proletariat. Opposed to this, capital is considered as an "automatic subject," which exists in a sham as well in a real form.

On the other hand, the authors of the Neue Marx-Lektüre in contrast to the academically dominant neo-classic economy maintain the relevance of the approach of Marx. Especially they insist that the micro-economic approaches of the neoclassic theory of economy can't explain the constitution, maintenance and dynamics of the economic value-relations, and only can exhibit insufficient theoretical means when it comes to macro-economic constructs such as e.g. the gross national income. On the contrary, they point out that Marx, although unable to answer these questions, nevertheless provides a higher degree of reflection and awareness for the problems, which has to be recovered in a critical manner for the contemporary discussion.

Main works

  • Helmut Reichelt: Zur logischen Struktur des Kapitalbegriffs bei Karl Marx. also: Dissertation from 10 July 1968, Wirtschafts- u. sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Universität Frankfurt am Main. Frankfurt, 1968, 265 S.; fourth revisited edition, with a preface by Iring Fetscher, Frankfurt a. M.: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1973 (Politische Ökonomie); Freiburg im Breisgau: Ça Ira, 2001, ISBN 3-924627-76-2.
  • Michael Heinrich:Kritik der politischen Ökonomie - Eine Einführung, Schmetterling Verlag, 3rd edition 2005 Die Wissenschaft vom Wert (dissertation) VSA-Verlag, 1991; second, revised edition: Westfälisches Dampfboot, 2003
  • Hans-Georg Backhaus: Dialektik der Wertform. Untersuchungen zur Marxschen Ökonomiekritik, Freiburg i. Br. 1997, ISBN 3-924627-52-5.
  • Helmut Reichelt: Neue Marx-Lektüre. Zur Kritik sozialwissenschaftlicher Logik, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-89965-287-1.

See also




External links