The Theory of Need in Marx
Part of the Radical Thinkers series
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144 pages / April 2018 / 9781786636126
April 2018 / 9781786636133

The first full presentation of a fundamental aspect of Marx, the concept of need

What are needs? While the edifices of economic theory are built upon various mechanisms designed to satisfy “human needs,” not many economists have addressed the idea of need itself. Heller’s highly original work identifies this lacuna, recognizing the concept of needs as playing a “hidden but principal role in Marx’s economic categories.” Her writing lucidly exposes radical needs as bearing the seeds of revolutionary agency in alienated capitalist society, and reasserts our existence as sentient beings beyond the realm of the material, productive spheres.


“The crucible of Heller’s theory of needs is a conception of total revolution which signifies not just the overturning of political regimes or relations of production but the transformation of everyday life.”

“One of the most innovative philosophical minds of the last half century.”

“Agnes Heller is peerless as a philosopher of the modern condition.”

“Sinuously argued and dense with quotations from both the early and later Marx … a pivotal moment in the whole development of her philosophy.”

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