The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Kautsky, Karl (1854–1938)

  • Tadeusz Kowalik
Reference work entry


Kautsky was born in Prague on 16 October 1854 and died in Amsterdam on 17 October 1938. Marxist thinker and writer, leading theoretician of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Second International, he studied law and arts in Vienna. Fascinated by the theories of Marx and Engels (both of whom he met and befriended in London in 1881), Kautsky must be credited with the spread and development of their ideas in all his embodiments – as a prodigal and versatile columnist; as founder and editor (1883–1917) of the SPD theoretical journal Die Neue Zeit, which soon became the chief Marxist forum in Europe; as editor of Marx’s books and unfinished manuscripts (Kautsky edited them in three volumes called Theorien über den Mehrwert, which appeared in 1905–10); and also as socialist thinker. Kautsky presented his ideas systematically in Die materialistische Geschichtsauffassung (1927), expounding a theory of social development which combined Marx’s and Engels’s historical materialism with Darwin’s naturalism.


Business cycles Cartels Economic planning Engels, F. Guild socialism Imperialism Kautsky, K. Market socialism Marx, K. H. Marx’s analysis of capitalist production Money Peasant economy Say’s Law Socialism Stagnation Tugan-Baranovsky, M. I. Underconsumptionism 

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  1. Tugan-Baranovsky, M.I. 1901. Studien zur Theorie und Geschichte der Handelskrisen in England. Jena: Fischer.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tadeusz Kowalik
    • 1
  1. 1.