Marx and Classical Political Economy Analytical Essay by Rochey

Marx and Classical Political Economy
An analysis of the major differences between Marxian and classical political economy.
# 54736 | 2,853 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2004 | GB

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This paper attempts to show how the way in which Karl Marx broke from the analysis of the classical political economists is shown through the basic assumptions that he challenged. It identifies three key ways that form central points of departure from classical political economy. First, it examines how Marx's "historical materialist" approach departed from the classical economists, in the way that the mode of production was identified as the driving force behind social and historical change. It then looks at how Marx broke away from the classical conception of the market mechanism and then shows Marx broke away from the individualist assumptions of the classical political economists. It also explores how the premise that an understanding of economic life can be derived from conceptualizing the individual as a fundamental unit of analysis was a central assumption of the classical school and how Marx asserted that economic life can only be understood through the analysis of social relations and in particular the relations between classes.

From the Paper:

"Markets, both Marx and the Classicals agreed, create a division of labor. In our day to day interactions, it is about exchanging goods for money. However, what Marx saw was a division of labor that is social, allocating people to different trades. In capitalism, labor is not directly social. It became social only when it appeared as the price of a commodity that was exchanged. The prices of commodities and the buying and selling of commodities at these prices constituted the indirect social relations of interdependent laborers. Thus, in capitalism the social interdependence of workers appeared, in the form of commodity prices, to be a set of relations among things (commodities) rather than a set of relations among workers. The Classical economists did not see that it is something that is produced, as they regarded commodities primarily as having use values."

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