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Capital : A Critique of Political Economy (Penguin Classics) (Volume 2) Paperback – March 1, 1993
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In Vol I, Marx left us with his famous formula M-C-M'. The Capitalist, as Capital personified, enters the world as M (money), buys a commodity, and sells it dearer (M'). We find out in Vol I, that for overall economic growth, this commodity must be labor power. In Vol II Marx expands upon the circulation of capital, and gives us a better definition of what Capital is. The Forumla now expands to:
(amazon will not let me properly show this formula, so pretend the slashes connecting MP and LP to M are really connecting LP and MP to C).
The capitalist shows up with money, buys means of production and labor power, then the act of production occurs (P), and the "....Read more ›
Subtitled, "The Process of Circulation of Capital," the book contains more purely abstract reasoning, mathematical calculations (although Engels notes that Marx "did not get the knack of handling figures, particularly commercial arithmetic"; pg. 284), etc., and is much less "lively" than the first volume was.
Marx asserts that "Whatever his pay, as a wage-labourer he works part of his time for nothing. He may receive daily the value of the product of eight working-hours, yet functions ten." (Pg. 132) He says that the working day consists of two parts: necessary labour, and surplus-labour. (Pg. 426) He rejects an argument about the cost and demand for luxuries, because "The entire objection is a bugbear set up by the capitalists and their economic sycophants." (Pg. 341)
He rejects as "absurd" that question of whether capitalist production in its present volume would be possible without the credit system; but he adds, significantly, "one must not entertain any fantastic illusions on the productive power of the credit system, so far as it supplies or sets in motion money-capital." (Pg. 346)
He strongly criticizes Adam Smith's "ridiculous blunder" that exchange value consists of wages, profits, and rent. (Pg. 372)
Not one of Marx's "essential reading" texts, this book is nevertheless important for someone studying Marx's economic theories.
If one is looking to understand true Marxism, then please read the whole Capital series. I found it easier to read the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith before tackling these volumes. It will provide an easier roadmap and critique of capitalism before venturing into other realms of communist theory. Overall, five stars!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This volume is a nice version of Marx's magnum opus (one of three volumes). The text is large enough to be readable.Published 10 months ago by Michael Hurwitz
It should be stressed for the novice to this subject, all three volumes of Capital provide a scientific explanation, as Marx put it, of how the Capitalist system works from the... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Dean Jackson
If you have Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" you have to have Karl Marx's "The Capital" to understand the economic discussion of "more state" vs. Read morePublished 23 months ago by md30144
The length of the book might be a set back for some people like it was for me, but once you get into it you will find yourself pleased with the depth of understanding that Marx... Read morePublished on September 22, 2013 by Ayala-Aponte