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Marxism as a Capitalist Tool


David Ellerman


University of California at Riverside, Philosophy Department

February 13, 2009


Abstract:     
Just as the two sides in the Cold War agreed that Western Capitalism and Soviet Communism were 'the' two alternatives, so the two sides in the intellectual Great Debate agreed on a common framing of questions with the defenders of capitalism taking one side and Marxists taking the other side of the questions. From the viewpoint of economic democracy (e.g., a labor-managed market economy), this late Great Debate between capitalism and socialism was as misframed as would be an antebellum 'Great Debate' between the private or public ownership of slaves. Even though the Great Debate between capitalism and socialism is now in the dustbin of intellectual history, Marxism still plays an important role in sustaining the misframing of the questions so that the defenders of the present employment system do not have to face the real questions that separate that system from a system of economic democracy. In that sense, Marxism has become the ultimate capitalist tool.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: Marx, Marxism, capitalism, socialism, economic democracy

JEL Classification: B14, P

working papers series


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Date posted: February 13, 2009 ; Last revised: March 25, 2009

Suggested Citation

Ellerman, David, Marxism as a Capitalist Tool (February 13, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1342814 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1342814

Contact Information

David Ellerman (Contact Author)
University of California at Riverside, Philosophy Department ( email )
United States
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