This chapter aims to interpret the relationship between economics and Critical Theory in the early Frankfurt School (Adorno, Horkheimer, Pollock, Neumann). It is often argued that this first Critical Theory articulates the positive description of social reality, constituted by Marx’s economic theory and the social sciences, with a normative discourse underlying both the critique of social reality and the norms likely to accelerate and orient its transformation. It is also argued that the critique of political economy developed by this tradition of thought suffers from a normative deficit. It is moreover maintained that this critique has abandoned positive economic knowledge in favour of a general critique of instrumental rationality. This chapter will examine these arguments through a detailed analysis of the relationship between this generation of thinkers and the economic thought of their time, especially the work of Friedrich Pollock. It will be shown that the controversy around state capitalism led Adorno and Horkheimer to apprehend the economic sphere from the point of view of the norms that underlie it, and to propose an immanent critique of these norms. The chapter intends to show that the Frankfurt School tried to strengthen the normative dimension of the Marxian critique of political economy, as analytical Marxism would do later.