Compare and Contrast the Work and Ideas of Marx and Keynes

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Compare and contrast the work and ideas of two leading political economists Adam Smith (1723-1790) and Karl Marx (1818-1883) are two of the leading political economists of the last few centuries and the work of both has had a profound effect on the world’s political economy since their deaths. This essay will assess any similarities in their work and ideas and perhaps more significantly the distinct differences between them. As Marx came after Smith he was conscious of his work and had studied it, this, however, did not stop their works being profoundly different. Both philosophers believed that they had cracked the science behind the political economy and that their ideas were more than ideologies but planned out structures on how the economy worked. Smith would not have claimed his work was original, however, his main work, The Wealth of Nations contained the ideas of 100s of thinkers before him but what was novel about his work was the extent to which he covered all topics and used their ideas to create his own (Heilbroner, 1953). Marx’s primary work The Communist Manifesto was new, the brainchild of him and his compatriot Friedrich Engels (Heilbroner, 1953). Smith outlined his belief that the economy should be run through competition and capitalism; he said that this would promote not just the interests of one particular class in society but would serve the interest of the entire nation (Smith, 1776). He saw capitalism as a method of advancing the nation and a formula for economic progress, society would be regulated not by the state but by the market and its competition and each man would work towards enriching the whole society (Galbraith, 1999). Smith’s goal was to maintain a laissez-faire, economy governed by the market with minimal intervention from the state only to provide security and justice and to maintain public institutions. Marx’s ideas on

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