John Ramsey McCulloch

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

McCulloch, John Ramsey


Born Mar 1, 1789, in Whithorn, Whigtownshire, Scotland; died Nov. 11, 1864, in London. British economist.

Marx characterized McCulloch as “a vulgar economist in everything and an apologist for the existing state of affairs” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 26, ch. 3, p. 171). From 1818 through 1838 he was a regular contributer to the Edinburgh Review. Between 1828 and 1832 he was a professor of political economy at the University of London. From 1838 to 1864 he was in government service.

Presenting himself as the defender and developer of the teachings of D. Ricardo, McCulloch vulgarized him and destroyed the basis of his teaching—the labor theory of value. He identified simple commodity and capitalist production, not taking into account the specific nature of the latter. He viewed workers and capitalists as owners of commodities who participated in an equivalent exchange. He thereby negated the fact of capitalist exploitation. Profit was explained as a violation of the law of value in the sphere of circulation. According to McCulloch, commodity value is created not only by the labor of man but also by the “labor” of animals, machinery, and the forces of nature. Marx characterized the views of McCulloch as the last and most sordid expression of the decline of the Ricardian school (see ibid., p. 189).


An Essay on the Circumstances Which Determine the Rate of Wages and the Condition of the Labouring Classes. Edinburgh, 1826.
The Principles of Political Economy, 2nd ed. London, 1830.
A Statistical Account of the British Empire, vols. 1-2. London, 1837.
The Literature of Political Economy. London, 1845.
In Russian translation:
O nachale, uspekhakh, osobennykh predmetakh i vazhnosti politicheskoi ekonomii. Moscow, 1834.


Marx, K. ’Teorii pribavochnoi stoimosti” (vol. 4 of Das Kapital). K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 26, ch. 3, pp. 171-91.


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