Marxism as a Capitalist Tool

9 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2009 Last revised: 25 Mar 2009

Date Written: February 13, 2009


Just as the two sides in the Cold War agreed that Western Capitalism and Soviet Communism were 'the' two alternatives, so the two sides in the intellectual Great Debate agreed on a common framing of questions with the defenders of capitalism taking one side and Marxists taking the other side of the questions. From the viewpoint of economic democracy (e.g., a labor-managed market economy), this late Great Debate between capitalism and socialism was as misframed as would be an antebellum 'Great Debate' between the private or public ownership of slaves. Even though the Great Debate between capitalism and socialism is now in the dustbin of intellectual history, Marxism still plays an important role in sustaining the misframing of the questions so that the defenders of the present employment system do not have to face the real questions that separate that system from a system of economic democracy. In that sense, Marxism has become the ultimate capitalist tool.

Keywords: Marx, Marxism, capitalism, socialism, economic democracy

JEL Classification: B14, P

Suggested Citation

Ellerman, David, Marxism as a Capitalist Tool (February 13, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

David Ellerman (Contact Author)

University of Ljubljana ( email )

School of Social Science
Ljubljana, CA


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics