Workers Vanguard No. 1054

17 October 2014


The End of Bourgeois Economics

(Quote of the Week)

Prior to World War I, Rosa Luxemburg—then prominent in the German Social Democracy’s revolutionary wing—began preparing for publication a popular version of her cadre school lectures on Marxist economics in order to educate workers as to their historic task as gravediggers of the capitalist order. The first chapter of Luxemburg’s unfinished book appeared in English as a pamphlet, issued by the American Trotskyists’ Pioneer Publishers in 1954 and subsequently reprinted in London and Colombo, in then-Ceylon.

As Marx demonstrated, the inherent tendencies of capitalist development, at a certain point of their maturity, necessitate the transition to a planful mode of production consciously organized by the entire working force of society—in order that all of society and human civilization might not perish in the convulsions of uncontrolled anarchy. And this fateful hour is hastened by capital, at an ever-increasing rate, by mobilizing its future gravediggers, the proletarians, in ever greater numbers, by extending its domination to all countries of the globe, by establishing a chaotic world economy, and by laying the foundation for the solidarity of the proletariat of all countries into one revolutionary world power which shall sweep aside the class rule of capital....

The Marxian doctrine is a child of bourgeois economics, but its birth cost the mother’s life. In Marxist theory, economics found its perfection, but also its end as a science. What will follow—apart from the elaboration of Marxist theory in details—is only the metamorphosis of this theory into action, i.e., the struggle of the international proletariat for the institution of the socialist economic order. The consummation of economics as a science constitutes a world-historic task: its application in organizing a planful world economy. The last chapter of economics will be the social revolution of the world proletariat.

—Rosa Luxemburg, “What is Economics?” reprinted in Rosa Luxemburg Speaks (Pathfinder Press, 1970)