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Marxism: Philosophy and Economics

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  253 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Sowell leads the listener through the Marxian scheme of ideas, shattering some existing interpretations of Marx which have developed through repetition rather than through scholarship. 6 cassettes.
Hardcover, 281 pages
Published March 1st 1985 by William Morrow & Company (first published January 1st 1985)
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Riku Sayuj
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, r-r-rs

A subtle paean to Engels. Paints a picture of Engels as the precursor, refiner and ultimately the author of most of what today bears Marx’s name. I exaggerate but it is only because this take amazes me. The book is a great intro to Marxism and takes special care to interpret Marx on his own terms and to stick to all his terminologies and conventions and thus resolve some of the apparent contradictions. This is definitely a work I will keep in mind during my soon-to-begin exploration of Marx’s wo
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those Interested in an Introduction to Marxism but Wary of Marxists
You can't get away from the importance of Karl Marx to culture, history and politics. So I decided I'd read Marx's Das Kapital. I tried. It's impenetrable, turgid, truly painful reading. Mind you, I don't mean that in and of itself is a refutation of Marx's claims. Human Action, the magnum opus of Ludwig Von Mises, the economist arguably most revered by free market advocates, is easily as impenetrable and painful to read. Sometimes it's just the case that some subjects (such as the Theory of Rel ...more
Jan 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful and concise overview of Marxist thought. If you'd like to learn about Marxism, don't start with Das Kapital or Theories of Surplus Value, start here.
Jan 20, 2014 rated it liked it
An obviously well-researched book, although perhaps more scholarly than necessary (or maybe I've just been spoiled by Dr. Sowell's more accessible works). It starts with a detailed description of the philosophy that inspired Marxism, followed by the philosophy of Marxism. I wouldn't say this is a basic intro to the basics of Marxism, but a deeper analysis of philosophy behind the man.

The book is very even-handed and uncritical until the final two chapters, that's when Sowell's usual no nonsense
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is meticulously researched and possibly the most well cited book I've ever read at nearly a thousand citations in under 300 pages. Sowell does us all a favor combing through everything Marx ever did, said or thought so we don't have to. Learning that "religion is the opiate of the masses" is not an actual Marx quote was a crazy revelation to me. It's amazing what you can get people to believe if you say it enough repeatedly.


Marxian philosophy looks at the world as a set of
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
November 12,2015


By Ty W. Foster

Marxism Philosophy & Economics By Thomas Sowell. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.

Thomas Sowell culminates all the ideas of Marxian economics, while dispelling the lies you've been told about Marx's ideas.

The author uses the first chapter to previewing things to come in future chapters, like the similarities of Marx and his close colleague Friedrich Engels and how earlier philosophers influenced Marx's ideas. The author then proceeds to t
Grig O'
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
The main body of the book is a very lucid and thorough exposition of Marxism, and I could find very little fault with it (for what that's worth) - it did a great job clarifying things such as Marx's dialectical method for me.

The penultimate chapter is a biography of Marx, and the tone starts to change - you can start to see where we're heading. The final chapter, the "critique" of Marxism, has very little to offer. Disappointingly sweeping statements and cold war-type arguments against existing
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Marxist philosophy is blindingly confusing at first blush, and even this distilled and simplified exposition will be a very challenging read to the newcomer. That being said, the ideas and their implications are presented very fairly and succinctly by Sowell in this work. The final chapter in particular, which lays out Sowell's analysis of the implications and critical errors of Marx's lines of thinking are elegantly powerful in elucidating the reasons why this intentionally compassionate ideolo ...more
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Though in spots helpful in understanding Marx, and clearly written, the author is simply wrong on the Marxian theory of value. Dead wrong. I have read enough of Das Kapital to know that Boehm-Bawerk's criticism of Marx is spot on. A quick search of Marx's big book can yield quotations from Marx that disprove Sowell's odd (and oddly defensive) thesis on Marxian value. Sowell's exposition is way too easy on Marx, especially regarding value theory, of which Marx adapted the biggest error of the cla ...more
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Self-congratulations! I understood (almost) every page - though I had to read some of them several times. From this book I realise there isn't a cat in hell's chance of me ever reading 'Capital'. It isn't easy but it is readable.

I can't discuss in depth the subject of the book, there are others far better qualified than I, but at least I can attack the proponents of Marxism on more equal terms - few of whom I now realise know much more than I anyway.

Actually, I'm cheating a bit writing this 'rev
Feb 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was the first Sowell book I read and I read it without knowing anything about the man (Sowell) or his personal beliefs. It was interesting to read and constantly wonder what his true feelings about Marxism were. I can honestly say it wasn't until the end - chapters where he warned he would be more than objective - when I figured it out. I knew that was the mark of a great book on a complex and controversial subject.

This book is a good, solid introduction to the concepts of Marxism.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, poli-sci, college
College textbook.
Geno Lamb
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Marxism is one of those elusive terms that is so often misunderstood that many of the things pundits today either deride or champion as ``Marxist'' bear little resemblance to any of the original ideas of Karl Marx. Even among academic circles, according to Sowell, many caricatures of Marxism should be more accurately described as ``Samuelsonian'' Marxism, ``Sweezyian'' Marxism, Marxism-Leninism, and so forth. These derivative forms of Marxism are as different from Marxism as a modern Protestant ...more
Tiara Lynn
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This will definitely not be the last book I read about Marxism. In exploring my own anti-capitalist feelings I'm trying to learn more about alternate economic theory and philosophy. There were some chapters that I had to listen to 2 and 3 times to understand, and others (usually the ones with the info that's most relatable to our economic and political climate) resonated with me a great deal. I certainly wouldn't call myself a communist, but the more I learn about socialist ideologies the more I ...more
Kelly Korby
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Marxist theory is simply linguistic gobbelygook.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economic-thought
Classic Sowell. Clear and convincing.
Sean McGowan
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good.
Walker Wright
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Miles Fowler
A free-market economist, Thomas Sowell wrote his Ph.D, dissertation on Marxism. Years later he wrote this book, reiterating and expanding on his earlier conclusions. As an economist, he developed more respect for Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the co-authors of the Communist Manifesto, than for subsequent Marxists whom he seems to think would be better described as neo-Marxist or perhaps even pseudo-Marxists, since Sowell argues that what they don't know about Marxism could fill a larger book t ...more
Michael Connolly
Feb 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
Sowell's book is mainly a discussion of the writing and ideas of Marx and Engels. It is not an easy read, because Marx and Engels themselves were not clear thinkers. More interesting than Sowells analysis of their confused thinking was the fact that the main foundation for Marxism was the philosophy of Hegel. Although not mentioned by name in Sowell's book, Hegel's predecessor Kant also played a role in the thought of Marx, in particular, Kant's distinction between appearance and essence. Marx d ...more
Abhilash Nambiar
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thomas Sowell explains Marxism better than Marx himself. This book is not a critique of Marxism. He has confined criticism to the last chapter. The book is primarily a systematic analysis and articulation of marxist philosophy and doctrine. There is also one chapter dedicated to Marx the man, it neatly dismantles the hagiography of Marx that we have grown accustomed to. Marxian ideas are here to stay. Like it or not, it will influence all our lives. This book is one of the tools we need to inocu ...more
Marcelo Reis
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mais um livro fantástico de Sowell e mais um grande aprendizado. Aqui, ele explica de forma detalhada e contextualizada o marxismo em todos os seus aspectos (econômico, político, histórico e filosófico). No final, faz uma crítica devastadora dessa ideologia que tanto causou destruição pelo mundo. É uma pena que poucos lerão, mas, ainda assim, seguirão tentando colocar as ideias marxistas em prática (ou votando para que coloquem). Mesmo que isso siga custando vidas e a liberdade de muitos.
Ted Heitz
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great for research...actually unbiased.
Ruru Ghoshal
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Comrade Sowell very subtly signs a paean to Comrade Engels. Excellent and articulate.
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
While I had no arguments with Sowell's interpretation of the idealogies presented, I found the way in which he presented it to be difficult to follow.
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
AVL Library
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-modern
This book is well researched and well written. Sowell brings his well paced, concise and enjoyable style to what could have been an arduous read.
Rejeev Divakaran
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Disappointed after reading Thomas Sowell's other books (Applied Economics, Migrations and Culture etc).
Clinton "Joe"
rated it it was amazing
May 30, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2017
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Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He often writes from an economically laissez-faire perspective. He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholars ...more
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