Saturday, May 23, 2020

How Did Karl Marx Get So Popular?

Karl Marx
It might have been by political accident.

In a new paper, The Mainstreaming of Marx: Measuring the Effect of the Russian Revolution on Karl Marx’s Influence, Phillip Magness and Michael Makovi attempt to answer the above question.

Here is the abstract from the paper:
Today, Karl Marx is considered one of the preeminent social scientists of the last two centuries, and ranks among the most frequently assigned authors in university syllabi. However in Marx’s time, many competing sociological traditions and socialist political movements espoused similar ideas from different origin points. How did Marx emerge as preeminent? We hypothesize that the 1917 Russian Revolution is responsible for elevating Marx’s fame and intellectual following above his contemporary competitors. Using the synthetic control method and Google Ngram data, we construct a synthetic counterfactual for Marx’s citation patterns. This allows us to predict how often Marx would have been cited if the Russian Revolution had not happened. We find a significant treatment effect, meaning that Marx’s intellectual influence may be partly due to political accidents.
The full paper is here.


No comments:

Post a Comment