Book of the Week #3

Allan Megill, Karl Marx – The Burden of Reason (Why Marx Rejected Politics and the Market), Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. Scholars have been interested in “the young Marx”, especially the Marx of 1844, for decades now, probing the extent to which the early writings on alienation and ideology foreshadow the argument of Capital, published over twenty years later. In this excellent new book, Megill now directs our attention to what me might call the Very Young Marx, the Marx of 1842-3, whose earliest notebooks on the political economy of Jean-Baptiste Say shed valuable light on the nature of his uncompromising – and often perplexing – intellectual rejection of market institutions. Megill’s account of Marx’s “rationalism” is largely persuasive, and his lucid discussions of the historiographical and textual issues facing contemporary Marx researchers paints an optimisitc picture of what the future holds for further excavations along these lines. Highly recommended.

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