What were the theoretical issues when Marx and Marxian economists criticized John Stuart Mill as vulgarizer of classical system?What is the real content of vulgarization, when they claim that J.S. Mill vulgarized Ricardo’s teachings? In what sense is he blamed to have opened the way to neoclassical economics?Béla Balassa once wrote in his paper “Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill” (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, Bd. 83, (1959), pp. 147-165):
- Marx’s treatment of John Stuart Mill is one of the great puzzles of history of economic thought. Reading Marx (and his followers) one gets the impression that Mill was an insignificant figure whose writings exemplify the “decline” of Ricardian economics. Whenever Marx mentions Mill’s name (which does not happen very frequently) he v\never forgets to add some derogatory comment. (p.147)In another paper (John Stuart Mill and the Law of Markets, The Quarterly Journal of Economics Vol. 73, No. 2 (May, 1959), pp. 263-274) he wrote:
- For present-day economists [Mill] represents a “half-way house” between Ricardo and Marshall; for Marxists he is the apologist personified, sharing the responsibility with many others for the “decline” of Ricardian economics.(p.263)I wonder why John Stuart Mill was so unduly ill-treated by Marx and Marxian economists.
Then answer is, of course, that Marx had no answers to what Mill wrote, neither economically nor ethically. But is Marx’s animosity to Mill the reason virtually no economist will read Mill today?