"THE MARXIAN SYSTEM HAS A PAST AND A PRESENT, BUT NO ABIDING FUTURE": FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF BÖHM-BAWERK'S KARL MARX AND THE CLOSE OF HIS SYSTEM, 1898
BÖHM-BAWERK, Eugen V. Karl Marx and the Close of His System. A Criticism. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1898. Octavo, original tan cloth. $2000.
First edition in English of the groundbreaking critique of Marxist economics by Böhm-Bawerk—"one of the five or six greatest economists of all time"—published the same decade as Volume III of Marx's Capital.
Böhm-Bawerk, "the first major economist to contest Marx's critique of capitalism" (Skousen, Big Three in Economics, 110), was named "one of the five or six greatest economists of all time" by Schumpeter, and Mises declared his writings "monumental" (Pressman, 84). With Karl Marx and the Close of His System, Böhm-Bawerk "demonstrated the impossibility of combining the tools of analysis found in the first and third volumes of Capital" (Andersen, Schumpeter's Evolutionary Economics, 105). To Böhm-Bawerk, "Marx had furnished no effective empirical or psychological grounds for his theory that labor constitutes value… 'Firstly, Marx took into account only the products of labor… Secondly Marx entirely disregarded use-value, which was illegitimate since, as he himself emphasized, use-value was a condition of exchange value. Thirdly Marx assumed that apart from use-value an object consists of nothing but crystallized labor… Moreover, he continues, 'the category of value in Marx's sense is useless because it cannot be measured quantitatively from price… The proposition that value governs the terms of exchange thus cannot be empirically verified and affords no explanation of true economic processes" (Kolakowski, Main Currents of Marxism II:291). To economist Murray Rothbard, Böhm-Bawerk's "detailed, withering demolition" of Marx "posed the grave inner contradiction of Marxian theory plainly and starkly… he demonstrated that Marx's proffered 'solution' was a sham, and that actually what Marx did was to throw in the towel and admit that, on the capitalist market, profit rates were equal and therefore that prices were not proportional to or determined by the quality of labor hours in the production of goods " (Austrian Perspective, 414). With a preface by James Bonar; translation by Alice M. Macdonald. Published in German in 1896 under the title Zum Abschluss des Marxschen Systems, in a volume of essays in honor of Karl Knies, and issued in a separate German edition the same year. Precedes the same year's American edition. As issued without dust jacket. Small institutional inkstamps to title page, margins of first and final text leaves; inked number to copyright page.
Text very fresh and crisp, inner hinges expertly reinforced, slight toning to spine of original cloth. An extremely good copy of a core work in the history of economics.