Synthesis Wanted: Reading Capital After 20th Century Orthodoxies and Revisions

  • Ingo Schmidt Athabasca University
Keywords: Marxist political economy, revisions, orthodoxies, crises, class struggle, imperialism, socialism


The article distinguishes between revisionist and orthodox readings of Capital and identifies two waves of innovations in Marxist political economy. The first produced the classical theories of imperialism; the second produced a diversity of Neo-Marxisms and new orthodoxies sowing the seeds for the 1000 Marxisms developing in the age of neoliberal globalisation. Reading all of these approaches to Marxist Political Economy in context, the article suggests and offers a key to the understanding of capitalist development and socialist movements in the 20th century. Using them as background for a new reading of Capital also allows an understanding of contemporary capitalism and considerations of socialist futures.

Author Biography

Ingo Schmidt, Athabasca University

Ingo Schmidt is an economist who works as the Coordinator of the Labour Studies Program at Athabasca University. He earned his PhD from the University of Göttingen and wrote a doctoral thesis on trade unions and Keynesianism. Ingo taught at different universities in Germany and Canada in the past and worked as a staff economist at the metal workers union, IG Metall, in Germany. He co-authored and edited a number of books, most recently The Three Worlds of Social Democracy – A Global View, Reading Capital Today and Capital@150, Russian Revolution@100 (in German). His articles appeared in a number of German- and English-language journals, including Historical Materialism, Labour/Le Travail, Monthly Review, Studies in Political Economy and Working USA. Ingo is also the economics columnist of the monthly paper Sozialistische Zeitung.

Karl Marx @ 200: Debating Capitalism & Perspectives for the Future of Radical Theory