Ka-Neng Au
Business Librarian
23 October 2009
Learning Tools: Class Guides: Dana Class Guides:
History of Economic Thought (220:327)
Prof. Leo Troy


The topic "Marxian Economics: Why It Failed in Theory and in Practice" will require that you understand, first of all, Marxism and Marxian (or Marxist) economics as historical schools of thought (see the encyclopedia article in the Web Resources section below). Then you have to consider weaknesses or shortcomings of the theories, and discuss the impact of economic policies based on those theories. Use the following phrases or keywords to help sort out your thoughts:

  • consumption
  • division of labor
  • labor theory of value
  • production
  • savings
  • challenge
  • collapse
  • criticism
  • critique
  • failure
  • capitalism
  • Marxian
  • Marxism
  • Marxist
  • soviet union

Of course, you should think of other related concepts to provide more focus to your research.

Web Resources

Start with Marxism from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. (NB. For an entire textbook suitable for the whole course, take a look at William J. Barber's A History of Economic Thought, Penguin Books, 1967)

Then, read the primer on Marxist Economics from Drexel University.

Here is a sampling of other Web resources, some of which are supportive while others are critical of Marxism:


Use IRIS, our online catalog, to locate books which may help you. Note that there are several ways to search, including TITLE keyword and SUBJECT keyword. Books that are not at Dana may be requested from other libraries with the Book Delivery / Recall button.

The following essays may also be useful as background:

  • R. Bellofiore, "Marxian Economic Thought," International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 14, pp. 9286-9292. DANA REF H 41 .I58
  • Byron Cannon, "Marxist Economics," Survey of Social Sciences: Economics Series, Vol. 3, pp. 1392-1398. DANA REF HB 61 .S94
  • Z. Cséfalvay, "Economic Transformation: From Central Planning to Market Economy," International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 6, pp. 4141-4146. DANA REF H 41 .I58
  • Andrew Glyn, "Marxist Economics," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, Vol. 3, pp. 390-395. DANA REF HB 61 .N49
  • Alfred G. Meyer, "Marxism," International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. 10. Ed. David L. Sills. New York: Macmillan, 1968, pp. 40-46. DANA REF H 41 .I68
  • Lefteris Tsoulfidis, "Marx, Karl: Impact on Economics," International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 2nd ed. Vol. 4. Ed. William A. Darity, Jr.. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008, pp. 634-635.


  • For references to articles in scholarly Economics journals, use EconLit from the American Economic Association. Search with combinations of concepts from above as well as these classification codes:
    • B140 (History of Thought since 1925: Socialist; Marxist; Scraffian)
    • B510 (Current Heterodox Approaches: Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian)
  • Note that you will only see abstracts of the articles; for the full-text, click on Article Linker which will lead to locations of the journals.
  • To locate articles in general business and economics journals and magazines, use Business Source Premier, enter keywords and then select appropriate fields.

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