This paper grew out of the author's Karl Marx studies and his practical knowledge of Soviet-type communist economies. It covers a broad spectrum of ideas and practices prevalent in those economies, which— rightly or wrongly—have become associated with Marx's teaching and predictions. Chapter I tries to explain the reasons for Marx's continuous popularity. Chapter II critically examines the validity of the claim about Marxian socialism being “scientific” as opposed to “utopian”. The article, especially in chapter III elaborates on a number of other Marxian ideas, like that of the so-called “anarchy of the market”, which for many decades exerted a negative influence on his followers—theoreticians and practitioners engaged in building what they believed to be a communist economy and society. One of the quintessential features of Marx's teaching, which he took over from Smith and Ricardo, was the labor theory of value and the “law of value” in particular. The latter, interpreted by Stalin as “the law of value under socialism”, was used by him for ideological and propaganda purposes, but after his death has in turn been utilized by Marxists, non-Marxists and anti-Marxists to discredit the Stalinist economic system, and to advance propositions ranking from profound, relevant and commendable to vague and frivolous. Tracing in Chapter IV the peripetia of this “law” provides a deeper insight into both the essential weaknesses of the Marxian theory and the acute dilemmas of the Soviet-type economies.

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