Johann Karl Rodbertus-Jagetzow

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rodbertus-Jagetzow, Johann Karl


Born Aug. 12, 1805, in Greifswald; died Dec. 6, 1875, in Jagetzow. German economist. One of the originators of the theory of state socialism. Spokesman for the interests of the bourgeoisified Prussian nobility.

Rodbertus-Jagetzow studied law at the universities of Göttingen and Berlin. In his political views, he was a democrat until 1848, when he became a supporter of constitutional monarchy. Rejecting class struggle, he advocated the solution of social problems through the implementation of reforms by the bourgeois state. He proposed projects designed to strengthen the socioeconomic position of the Junkers and perpetuate the privileged classes.

Rodbertus-Jagetzow was typically uncritical in borrowing bourgeois interpretations of economic categories “in their crude form, reflecting only the surface of phenomena” (F. Engels, in K. Marx and F. Engels, Sock, 2nd ed., vol. 21, p. 183). He confused use value with exchange value. Failing to understand the social character of value, he believed that under equivalent exchange, labor could serve as the direct measure of value. Therefore, he proposed “setting” the value of goods legislatively, in terms of labor time, which would be supplemented by the issuing of “workers’ currency.” Denying that K. Marx was the first to solve certain problems of political economy, Rodbertus-Jagetzow claimed that distinction for himself. However, he did not understand the character of abstract labor, which creates value, and he could not provide a scientific explanation of the mechanism of the formation of surplus value. He referred to the surplus product as rent, which, in his opinion, consisted of profit and land rent. Rodbertus-Jagetzow was unable to formulate the problem of the transformation of value into the cost of production or provide a correct explanation for the average rate of profit.


In Russian translation:
Pervoe sotsial’noe pis’mo k fon Kirkhmanu. [St. Petersburg, 1906.]
“Sotsial’nye pis’ma k fon Kirkhmanu: Pis’mo vtoroe i tret’e.” Soch., fasc. 1. St. Petersburg [1904].
Chetvertoe sotsial’noe pis’mo k fon Kirkhmanu. St. Petersburg, 1906.
K poznaniiu nashego gosudarstvenno-khoziaistvennogo stroia. [Leningrad] 1935.
Ekonomicheskie sochineniia. [Leningrad] 1936.


Marx, K. Kapital, vols. 1–3. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vols. 23–25.
Marx, K. “Teorii pribavochnoi stoimosti” (vol. 4 of Kapital). Ibid., vol. 26.
Engels, F. “Marks i Rodbertus.” Ibid., vol. 21.
Engels, F. “Predislovie ko vtoromu izdaniiu ‘Kapitala.’” Ibid., vol. 24.
Engels, F. Bebeliu, 22 dek. 1882. (Letter.) Ibid, vol. 35.
Plekhanov, G. V. “Ekonomicheskaia teoriia Karla Rodbertusa-
Iagetsova.” Soch., vol. 1. Moscow-Petrograd, 1923. Istoriia ekonomicheskoi mysli, part 2. [Moscow] 1964. Pages 319–24.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.