Marx: From Hegel and Feuerbach to Adam Smith
This paper discusses the development of Marx’s thought over a period of something like fifteen months, between the spring of 1843 and the autumn of 1844. The focus of the paper is Marx’s first encounter with classical political economy as he found it in the Wealth of Nations. The outcome of this encounter was presented by Marx in his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. It is argued here that in the classical theory, with which he had hitherto been largely unfamiliar, Marx found all the elements he needed to synthesise the philosophical standpoint he had developed in the preceding months with political economy. The Manuscripts represent the first crucial stage in the development of this synthesis. This first encounter of Marx with classical political economy, and his first steps in the development of his synthesis, have received hardly any attention in the literature. The present paper seeks to fill this gap.