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Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (Penguin Classics) Paperback – November 7, 1993

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Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Karl Marx (1818-1883). The core of Marx's economic analysis found early expression in the Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844 (Economic and Political Manuscripts of 1844) (1844). There, Marx argued that the conditions of modern industrial societies invariably result in the estrangement (or alienation) of workers from their own labor. In his review of a Bruno Baier book, On the Jewish Question (1844), Marx decried the lingering influence of religion over politics and proposed a revolutionary re-structuring of European society. Much later, Marx undertook a systematic explanation of his economic theories in Das Kapital (Capital) (1867-95) and Theorien über den Mehrwert (Theory of Surplus Value) (1862).
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (November 7, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140445757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140445756
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A. R. Craig on February 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Grundrisse is perhaps one of the most important additions to Marxian scholarship in the last fifty years and stands as a true Rosetta Stone for deciphering Marx(ist, ian, oid) thought. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy stands as a bridge between the early humanist writing such as the Manifesto and the later scientific Marx as seen in the three volumes of Capital. In this text we see the very beginnings of the scientific critique as well as a brilliant display of Marx as the dialectician that forces the astute and serious reader to rethink the engagement between Marx and Hegelian thought. This work has seriously challenged what I thought I knew about Marx and has sent me into a deep reflection on Hegel. This work is a must read for those serious about engaging critically the works of a Karl Marx.
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Christopher D. Wright on April 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Unlike many other works, the Grundrisse exposes in more obvious ways Marx's dialectical thought. The Introduction should really be read as a great antidote to the 1859 Preface to a Critique of Political Economy, which gave us the base-superstructure analogy. The weakest link in Marx's though may very well be found there. The Grundrisse Introduction starts from the point of view of class struggle, whereas there is no place for the class struggle as the driving force in the base-superstructure schema.
Also, Grundrisse starts in a different place from Capital. There is a reason for this, and a good discussion of this can be found in the writing of Raya Dunayevskaya and a counter discussion can be found in Roman Rosdolsky. The choice to eventually shelve the organization of the Grundrisse for the organization of Capital flows in part from the changes in the intervening years, most notably the U.S. Civil War.
Real life constantly shaped Marx's thinking, hardly fitting the representation we commonly get of him from ideologues and capital's priests (economists). As a result, Grundrisse also has serious limitations in its understanding of the logic of capital. Basing the entire understanding of Marxism and capital on Grundrisse leads to the kind of mistakes made by Italian Autononmist Marxism, esp. Antonio Negri, who find themselves engaged in a very subjectivist understanding of capitalism. A useful, but sympathetic, antidote can be found in Werner Bonefeld and John Holloway's writings.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Antonio Tiago Santos on April 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a sketch of what would become, a couple of years later, the author's masterpiece: Das Kapital. It was written in an intense effort during revolutionary agitations in Europe, such hard work had as goal to show the inherent contradictions of capitalism and the way it would soon collapse. Well, capitalism did not collapse then and did not so far, but this book remains a classic in the critique of classical political economy. It is indded shorter than Das Kapital, and in parts not as mature as, but it has the advantage of providing discussion on themes not discussed elsewhere in marxian works. Thus, the most famous part of Grundrisse are its Introduction and the part on "Pre-capitalistic modes of production". A must for anyone who wish to get acquainted with marxian thought.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Costas Foren on May 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
A collection of seven notebooks on capital and money, drafted during the winter of 1857-8, exploring the themes and theses that dominate his later writings, including Marx's own version of Hegel's dialectics, and thoughts on alientation. While not as sophisticatedp--or lengthy--as Das Kapital, it remains a "must read" for anyone interested developing a sophisticated understanding of Marxist philosophy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Magickal Merlin on April 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
This economic political classic sets the stage for Marx' masterpiece ,'Das Kapital'.It presents the Marxist view of economic labor theory and other radical issues concerning the public socialization of capitalistic economies.After reading this interesting monetary classic,I felt as if socialism can only compliment capitalism and never completely replace it.There needs to be a constant flux of balance between the two systems.During the days of the Industrial Revolution,the shift and focus was on absolute capitalism,unrestrained by indifferent royalists.After the the Russian Revoltion,the emphasis was on a centrical labor socialist oligarchy,with no blue-blood royalist tax restrictions.Under the reforms of Boris Yeltsin ,Russia moved to a more capitalist system ,in which some business gamblers lost everything.Putin has moved Russia back to a more centralised economy and perhaps refining the previous economic blunders of the Soviet Era.This book will help nuture a budding economics thinker by offering more philosophical avenues of free-thought and political choice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. robe on May 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Grundrisse was largely unavailable until the late 1960s. It provoked something of a rediscovery of Marx-- along with the publication of the 1844 manuscripts-- in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Grundrisse revealed a smoother transition between the early and later Marx than critics like Louis Althusser and others imagined. In particular, in spite of its rough form, the Grundrisse offers much more nuance to core Marxist concepts than many of his finished texts. Its opening salvo problematizes any clear division between production and consumption. Although feminist critics are correct in observing that Marx typically often under-analyzed unwaged labor, the Grundrisse draws these other forms of labor in relationship to the circuits of capital. For example, he writes, "Consumption is also immediate production . . . This is also true of every kind of consumption which in one way or another produces human beings in some particular aspect. Consumptive production." Housework could clearly apply within such an observation, which is exactly what Italian feminists began to analyze during the 1970s.

Much like Gramsci's prison notebooks, the Grundrisse offers much less of a well-systematized argument than a problematic towards understanding the processes of capitalism and the vitality of living labour. Disjointed in many parts, the Grundrisse opens itself up to multiple interpretations.

Perhaps most importantly, the Grundrisse draws attention back to class struggle in ways that Das Kapital minimizes. Marx heeds particular close attention to the alienating conditions produced not by capitalism but by laborers themselves. Capital merely extracts surplus value from living labor, but it masquerades itself as the originator of its own profits.
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