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Ilia Farahani

Ilia Farahani

Doctoral student

Ilia Farahani

Marx, Marxian geography, and rent theory


  • Ilia Farahani

Summary, in English

The numerous interpretations of Marx’s economic theory can be usefully divided in two broad classes: real competition theory and monopolistic competition theory. Marxian geographers (inspired by Harvey) have applied the latter without discussing why they ignore the former. The problem is particularly salient when it comes to rent theory. Geographers following Harvey have famously ignored Marx’s absolute rent, a type of rent that accrues to the landowner through deferential profitability between sectors. Instead, they applied a type formulated by Harvey, namely class-monopoly rent. The problem with this type is that it does not address any question regarding the magnitude or the rate of the rent; nor does it point to any ceiling of the rent. Marx’s absolute rent is devised exactly to address such questions. Harveyan geographers claim that absolute rent is not needed for spatial research, i.e. it is empirically irrelevant. The present study refutes such claims and aims to explore the reasons and consequences of ignoring the concept of absolute rent in Harveyan geography. It seems ignoring absolute rent comes as a matter of course once Harveyans have chosen their economic theory. More importantly, the paper argues, this theoretical choice comes with practical implications: absolute rent indicates the social struggle over land is rooted in dynamics of capitalist development and competition, while class-monopoly rent indicates it is rooted in the dynamics of finance capital and monopolistic competition.


  • Department of Human Geography

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper: abstract


  • Social and Economic Geography

Conference name

The 8th Nordic Geographers Meeting

Conference date

2019-06-16 - 2019-06-19

Conference place

Trondheim, Norway