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Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy (Penguin Classics) Paperback – May 5, 1992
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Text: English, German (translation)
From the Inside Flap
Capital, one of Marx's major and most influential works, was the product of thirty years close study of the capitalist mode of production in England, the most advanced industrial society of his day. This new translation of Volume One, the only volume to be completed and edited by Marx himself, avoids some of the mistakes that have marred earlier versions and seeks to do justice to the literary qualities of the work. The introduction is by Ernest Mandel, author of Late Capitalism, one of the only comprehensive attempts to develop the theoretical legacy of Capital. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Alright, the rest of the volume deals with Marx's theory of rent and his rather short contribution to a theory of credit and banking. once again, Rudolf Hilferding elaborates upon Marx's theory of credit, banking, and "fictitious capital" in his work Das Finanzkapital. Written in 1911, it predicted the First World War and was regarded as the fourth/ fifth volume of Capital (the fourth volume of Capital sometimes held as Marx's Theories of Surplus Value, a history of bourgeois economic theory).
I hope this has been relatively coherent. All in all, it isn't Daniel Steele or the Da Vinci Code. Nor is it the Leftist equivalent of Mein Kampf. Rather, it's a somewhat dry, but extremely important, economics text, far better than anything Adam Smith ever produced. I recommend it to economics students, Marxian scholars, and anyone seeking an economic justification of socialism. I hope this was of some use to you.
Perhaps the main difficulty, and perhaps even the reason for such misunderstanding and misinterpretation, is that Marx did not build foundations of knowledge in the traditional way. His world is complex, as it should be, and everything relates to everything else. Nothing is viewed in isolation or analyzed individually. At the same time he takes the reader through layers of abstraction in an attempt to reconstruct the real world step by step from a single concept; the dualism of labor and the contradictions which emanatefron it (labor and labor-power). That Marx was able to deduce his entire theory from a single beginning remains one of the most fascinating features of his work. Another important aspect of his analysis is that it broke away from the classical dogma of political economy being confined to a relation of things and things which essentially concealed the complexities of the human element behind them (unfortunately even more characteristic of mainstream economic theory today). Marx was thus able to comprehend the 'laws' of motion of capitalist production, what the classicists failed to complete. while at the same time its limitations as socio-economic system in the continued development of the productive forces of society.
Unfortunately, there tends to be a large number of people that have never been exposed to Marx and listen to a small segment of the population that rallies against Marx due to either cold war ideological or dogmatic nonsense - Any serious reader of Capital will clearly see that this work lacks politicized bias infringing on objectivity that has infiltrated most writings today. Not only is it truly exceptional, but it is the most important contribution to economic thought ever. I can only write this general review - a concise overview would be, at my level, impossible.
Just read the book online for free, or better yet, don't buy it from here.
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But maybe I'm being harsh.Read more