Marxist economics

A universal basic income (UBI) is being seriously discussed across Canada, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the various federal benefit programs. UBI is an unconditional payment made to all citizens and is usually a guaranteed, cash-based payment that all citizens receive regardless of income or tax bracket. There are proposals for UBI coming from both the left and the right. Superficially at least, UBI proposals can look quite attractive for the left, but what position should socialists take? Note: this article was written in


In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto established the first digital bitcoin transaction by mining the so-called genesis block. This was to be the beginning of a new era for money and the payment system, but the story did not develop according to the original aims of the pseudonymous bitcoin creator. Digital currencies really have the potential to change the economic landscape. The problem is that, under capitalist conditions, they will not be used to help ordinary people, but rather, the profiteering bankers. Note: this article was written in December 2020.

Modern Monetary Theory has become in vogue on the left, as a supposed answer to the austerity agenda pursued by big business politicians. But the limits of a new book by a leading MMT proponent show why we need the ideas of Marxism.

Governments everywhere are pumping money into the world economy to keep it on life support. Followers of Keynesian ideas – of government stimulus and demand-side management – feel vindicated. But only Marxism offers a solution.

In his article entitled 'Long Economic Cycles', Kondratiev argued that, in addition to the normal trade cycle of capitalism of between seven and eleven years, there existed longer cycles, the average duration of which was fifty years. He concluded that the capitalist system passes through "long waves", in which each downswing is followed by an upswing which can last for decades. It is this latter assertion that was rebutted by Trotsky. And though it has regularly made its reappearance, enjoying a temporarily fashionable status, it has no solid basis either in fact or in theory. In this article, originally published in 2000, Alan Woods explains why.

In the year 2000 we published this article by Leon Trotsky on capitalist development. The purpose then was to underline the fact that although capitalism was experiencing a boom, the period we had entered was actually one of overall capitalist decline. As we explained in the introduction “Rather than a new upswing, capitalism is heading for a new slump and a downward curve of development similar to the interwar period.” This was confirmed by the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent events. We are republishing it as an aid to understanding the period we have been through and where we are going.

MMT has created a buzz on the left recently, with its supporters citing it as an answer to all our economic woes. Instead of trendy new ideas, however, we need the clear, scientific analysis of capitalism that Marxism provides – Adam Booth writes.

In this video from the 2018 Revolution Festival, Adam Booth - editor of - provides an overview of the history of money, using a Marxist economic analysis to strip away the veil of mystery that surrounds it.

In this talk from a 2018 'Marx in a Day' event, celebrating Karl Marx's 200th birthday and discussing his key ideas, Rob Sewell (editor of Socialist Appeal) explains the fundamental concepts of Marxist economics.

Understanding Marx’s Capital: A reader’s guide

Marx's Capital was a book that revolutionised political economy and for the first time opened our eyes to the real workings of capitalism. It was, however, met with a wall of silence from the mainstream economists and the establishment. Despite this, Capital became regarded in the workers' movement as the Bible of the working class.

 "Today, in numerous areas, from automation to green energy to information technology, we are seeing a validation of Marx's assertion: that society's productive forces at a certain stage come into conflict with the way in which society is organised. These "economic singularities", as Adam Booth discusses, demonstrate clearly that the system has broken."


What is money? Where does it come from? And what does it represent?

In this video from a day school on Marxist economics, Ben Gliniecki of the Socialist Appeal Editorial Board discusses the development of Marx's theories on capitalism, examining the classical economists preceding Marx who were influential in shaping his ideas on questions such as the Labour Theory of Value.

In this video from a 2016 Socialist Appeal day school on Marxist economics, James Kilby compares and contrasts the economic theories of Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes, and analyses the material conditions and historic factors that led to the "post-war boom" - the 25 year period of capitalism upswing that followed the end of the Second World War.

In this recording from Red October 2015, Adam Booth - editor of - analyses the current crisis of capitalism and discusses Marx's theories about why capitalism enters into crisis.