Theory as Critique, while discussing many central issues of Marxian theory, has two main emphases: First, as the title suggests, it takes seriously Capital’s claim to be a critique of economic theory, rather than a contribution to political economy. Understanding what this means, it shows, goes far to unravelling many difficulties traditionally found in Marx’s book, from the nature of his theory of class to the 'transformation problem'. Secondly, Mattick’s volume carefully explores how to bridge the gap between the extreme abstraction of Marx’s ideas and the complex reality that they are intended to help us understand.
"Marx is widely considered an outmoded nineteenth-century thinker whose predictions have been falsified...Paul Mattick’s superb study, Theory as Critique: Essays on Capital, establishes that these endlessly recycled objections either are not substantiated in a close reading of Marx’s works or do not touch the heart of Marx’s position. Correcting previous interpretations, however, is not Mattick’s ultimate goal: “the main interest of this book is the attempt to bridge the gap between Marx’s ideas and their application to present-day circumstances” (p. 7). Far from being an account of nineteenth-century capitalism made obsolete by more recent developments, Marx’s theory is “still explanatorily relevant to a social system that continues to have the basic features Marx identified” (p. 9)."
–Tony Smith, H-Net