By Jonathan Wolff

Why Read Marx Today?
ISBN: 9780192805058
Pages: 144

The fall of the Berlin Wall had enormous symbolic resonance, marking the collapse of Marxist politics and economics. Indeed, Marxist regimes have failed miserably, and with them, it seems, all reason to take the writings of Karl Marx seriously. In Why Read Marx Today? Jonathan Wolff argues that if we detach Marx the critic of current society from Marx the prophet of some never-to-be-realized worker's paradise, he remains the most impressive critic we have of liberal, capitalist, bourgeois society. The author shows how Marx's main ideas still shed light on wider concerns about culture and society and he guides the reader through Marx's notoriously difficult writings. Wolff also argues that the value of a great thinker does not depend on his or her views being true, but on other features such as originality, insight, and systematic vision. From this perspective, Marx still richly deserves to be read. Why Read Marx Today? reinstates Marx as an important critic of current society, and not just a figure of historical interest.

About Jonathan Wolff

Jonathan WolffJonathan Wolff is the Blavatnik Chair in Public Policy and Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. He was formerly Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Arts and Humanities at UCL. His recent work has largely concerned equality, disadvantage, social justice and poverty, as well as applied topics such as public safety, disability, gambling, and the regulation of recreational drugs, which he has discussed in his books Ethics and Public Policy: A Philosophical Inquiry (Routledge 2011) and The Human Right to Health (Norton 2012). His most recent book is An Introduction to Moral Philosophy (Norton 2018).

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Table of Contents of Why Read Marx Today?


  • Marx's Life and Works
  • The Plan of this Book

1: Early Writings

  • Introduction
  • Religion
  • The Philosophy of Historical Materialism
  • Labour and Alienation
  • Money and Credit
  • Liberalism
  • Emancipation

2: Class, History, and Capital

  • Class
  • History
  • The Economics of Capitalism
  • The Transition to Communism
  • The Nature of Communism

3: Assessment

  • Introduction
  • Early Writings
  • Theory of History
  • Economics
  • Communism
  • Human Nature
  • Conclusion