The economics of Karl Marx was based on an epistemology different from the Cartesian theory of knowledge and being which inspired the classicists. He was inspired by Hegal, but he proceeded by "turning Hegal right side up again”. "Marx's theory of knowledge is empirical and historical from beginning to end" and his economics closely follows his philosophy of history. But despite its roots in the world of matter his philosophy deals very much in concepts and abstractions, sharing the heritage of the classicists and often being counted as one among them. Nevertheless, his was a totally different paradigm being "focused on the failure of orthodox political economy to prescribe for a desirable distribution of wealth" This is the one thing that stands out from the tough and rough texts that Marx and his followers contributed to economics and the feature which still continues to attract many adherents to his system, adherents who may share neither his epistemology nor his philosophy of history.

To note another significant departure: Whereas in the classical scheme, the ideal obtained of necessity, only if the world was left uncontaminated by human interference, but for Marx the ideal must clearly be recognized and fought for. This activism distinguished Marx from Hegel as well as from orthodox economists and reinforces the capacity of his system to attract socially concerned citizens.

Source: Dr. Muhammad Nejatullah Siddiqi, Economics An Islamic Approach. Republished with permission.
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