Last year, the Journal of Political Economy published an article by Phillip W. Magness and Michael Makovi in which they argued that what made Karl Marx into a major name was the second Russian revolution of 1917, the one that installed the Bolsheviks and brought Communism to Russia. Their evidence was very strong and I won’t bother repeating it here. The article is titled, “The Mainstreaming of Marx: Measuring the Effect of the Russian Revolution on Karl Marx’s Influence.” You can check the article for their evidence.

I’m an avid watcher of Jeopardy. In an episode last week, the “answer” was to the effect (I’m going from memory here): “These are the two authors whose Communist Manifesto was first published in English in 1937.”

The “question,” of course, was “Who were Marx and Engels?”

At first, I thought it was amazing that it took that long for the book to be translated into English. And then I remembered the Magness/Makovi hypothesis and the date made more sense. With Marx not being a highly important figure in the history of economic thought, it wouldn’t have made sense to publish the Communist Manifesto in English before 1917 because that’s what made him a major figure.