As I know, Marx economics did not solve the problem of transformation as Samuelson argued.

And at least, it has been known as a dead end.

How does Marx economics get evaluated in modern economics? Is it considered as a kind of pseudoscience or something similar?

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    $\begingroup$ 'modern' economics are unaware of Marx's existence for the most part and for a good reason: he wrote in the context of classical political economy whereas modern economics are an offshoot of the marginalist revolution; those two approaches generally don't mix well; $\endgroup$
    – user14471
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 7:07
  • $\begingroup$ it's not about the transformation problem;the transformation problem is a hiccup in Marx's methodological approach much as the capital controversies are a hiccup for neoclassical economics $\endgroup$
    – user14471
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 7:17
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    $\begingroup$ This is the second question you are asking on the subject. It seems to me like you want to ask the question "Is Marxist economics pseudoscience?", perhaps based on your position that it is. If so, I consider you ask that question openly, rather than masking it via more ambiguous ones. $\endgroup$
    – luchonacho
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ luchonacho - Then, is there any comment about marxist economics from mainstream economists in the late 20th century(From 1970?) or 21th century? This can be appropriately specific question as I think. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


Your question is complex.

First of all, what is science? Not even methodologists have settled this question. Falseability, testeability, a method? (great read here).

Second, what do you mean by Marxism? Marxism is around 150 years old, and has evolved in the process.

Karl Popper argued that Marxism became a pseudoscience from the moment that their successors started to add ad-hoc modifications to justify why its predictions were incorrect, a view rejected by another philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn.

If it comes to testeability, well, there are plenty of tests around of the labour theory of value (albeit not originally marxists, a key component imo) (e.g. here), tests about the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (e.g. here), or about Marx's understanding of crises (e.g. here). Under this grounds, it is a bit unfair to broadly define Marxism as unscientific. Keep in mind the two aforementioned caveats though.

Finally, about modern mainstream critiques to Marxism, there are of course many. Their existence however does not provide a foundation for its obsolescence per se, since every school of thought or ideology within a discipline faces criticism (see here a critique from a mainstream economist - Paul Romer - about mainstream Macroeconomics).

Here are two critiques from two mainstream Nobel prize winners that might be of interest:

  • Robert Solow, reviewing the 1988's Palgrave Dictionary of Economics in the New York Times state:

there are always dissenting fringes within academic economics. Marxism is only the most persistent. [...] Nevertheless, there is usually a definite consensus - there is one now - and an accurate picture of the discipline would make that clear. It would have to give dissent a fair shake. It would have to treat mainstream ideas critically. But it should keep the various ''paradigms'' in proportion. I do not think ''The New Palgrave'' has managed to do that.

The most obvious, though not the most important, manifestation of imbalance is the large number of items devoted to Marxist themes [...] Marx was an important and influential thinker, and Marxism has been a doctrine with intellectual and practical influence. The fact is, however, that most serious English-speaking economists regard Marxist economics as an irrelevant dead end. ''The New Palgrave'' [...] gives a false impression of the state of play by this deadpan statement.

  • George Stigler, also reviewing the 1988's Palgrave Dictionary of Economics:

Even if one is prepared to concede (as I certainly am not) that this emphasis on Marx and Sraffa is justified by their importance in modern or earlier economics, that would not justify the frequent penetration of Marxian views into the treatment of what are surely non-Marxian subjects. [...]

A nonprofessional reader would never guess from these volumes that economists working in the Marxian-Sraffian tradition represent a small minority of modern economists, and that their writings have virtually no impact upon the professional work of most economists in major English-language universities.

As a final comment, notice that one thing is for a theory/ideology to be unscientific and another is for it to be wrong. Furthermore, it is hard to imagine a theory/ideology that opposes the prevalent economic and political system to be mainstream.


Here are some comments on Marx from people who can certainly not be called marxists.

If Karl Marx and V. I. Lenin were alive today, they would be leading contenders for the Nobel Prize in economics. Marx predicted the growing misery of working people, and Lenin foresaw the subordination of the production of goods to financial capital’s accumulation of profits based on the purchase and sale of paper instruments. Their predictions are far superior to the “risk models” for which the Nobel Prize has been given and are closer to the money than the predictions of Federal Reserve chairmen, US Treasury secretaries, and Nobel economists, such as Paul Krugman, who believe that more credit and more debt are the solution to the economic crisis.

Paul Craig Roberts, United States Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Reagan in 1981, Source

The American economy is still, by most measures, deeply depressed. But corporate profits are at a record high. How is that possible? It’s simple: profits have surged as a share of national income, while wages and other labor compensation are down. The pie isn’t growing the way it should — but capital is doing fine by grabbing an ever-larger slice, at labor’s expense.

Wait — are we really back to talking about capital versus labor? Isn’t that an old-fashioned, almost Marxist sort of discussion, out of date in our modern information economy? Well, that’s what many people thought;

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 2008, Source

extraordinary that 100 years after Das Kapital ... so little else should have emerged

Sir John Hicks, Nobel Prize-winning British economist, Source


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