"Capital", Karl Marx: summary, criticism, quotes

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"Capital", Karl Marx: summary, criticism, quotes
"Capital", Karl Marx: summary, criticism, quotes

"Capital" is an encyclopedia for many politicians, economists and philosophers. Despite the fact that the work of Marx is more than 100 years old, it does not lose its relevance to this day. This article presents a summary of "Capital" by Karl Marx and the main ideas of the work of a lifetime of a brilliant philosopher and political scientist.

Briefly about the life of Karl Marx

Karl Marx was the most zealous intellectual defender of communism. His writings on this subject laid the foundation for subsequent political leaders, notably V.I. Lenin and Mao Zedong, who imposed communism on more than twenty countries.

Marx was born in Trier, Prussia (now Germany) in 1818. He studied philosophy at the universities of Bonn and Berlin. He received his doctorate from Jena at the age of twenty-three. His early radicalism, which he demonstrated to the members of the Young Hegelians and then to the general public through a newspaper that was closed due to its ironic social and political content,surpassed any career aspirations in academia and forced him to flee to Paris in 1843. It was then that Marx met Friedrich Engels, whose friendship turned out to be a lifelong one.

In 1849, Marx moved to London, where he continued to study and write, drawing mainly on the works of David Ricardo and Adam Smith.

Marx died in London in 1883 in poverty.

Activity and adoption of the idea of ​​Karl Marx

Marx, Engels, Lenin

Marxism achieved its first triumph between 1917–1921, when the working class got rid of tsarism and its successful leader, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870–1924), a follower of Marx, established the power of the Soviets, which marked the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin based the new state on the philosophy of Marx, more precisely, on his own interpretation of the philosopher. So Marx became a world figure, and his theories - the subject of general attention and controversy. Marx wrote hundreds of articles, pamphlets and reports, but only five books. The work of Karl Marx "Capital" became the main book of the philosopher.


Karl Marx

The first book called The Process of Capital Production was published in 1867. Its circulation was only 1000 copies. It became a continuation of the work "On the Critique of Political Economy" published in 1859. "Capital" in the form in which we know it was collected and put into print after the death of Marx by his friend, Friedrich Engels.

Volume 1

Money and capitalism

Summary of "Capital" by Karl Marx will differ significantly from the full volume of the book. Therefore, it is worth focusing on the main issues discussed in each of the volumes.

The first volume of the book "Capital" by Karl Marx raises questions of production and money. The author places special emphasis on how finished products and commodity exchange lead to the creation of capital.

Commodity circulation is the starting point of capital.

Marx's book begins with the definition and analysis of the concept of goods. He describes it as "an external object, a thing that, by its qualities, satisfies the needs of a person of any kind." There are three main ways to measure the value of a commodity, and they are interrelated: use value, exchange value, and producer value.

The use value of a good is determined by the usefulness of the good as it satisfies human needs. Marx explains exchange value by saying that there is always a certain amount of something that can be exchanged for a certain amount of something else. He gives the example of corn and iron, explaining that a certain amount of corn can be exchanged for a certain amount of iron. Unlike use value, which is based on the properties of a commodity, exchange value is created by people. Marx notes their differences, arguing that consumer values, commodities, differ primarily in quality, while exchange values ​​can differ only in quantity. Despite the differencesuse value and exchange value are inextricably linked. To create a product that has value, you need a certain amount of labor. The average amount of time needed to produce a commodity is called socially necessary labor time. Labor, according to Marx, is the substance of value.

Continuation of the book

Labor is capital

Let's move on to a summary of "Capital" by Karl Marx, more precisely, to its 2nd volume.

It's safe to say that Volume 2 is the least readable of the three major volumes of Marx's Capital. This relative neglect is regrettable, since many of the issues that concern modern Marxists - the distinction between productive and unproductive labor, the causes of economic crises, the conceptualization of fixed capital, the treatment of social reproduction - are treated in the second volume of Capital. In addition, a full evaluation of some of the material in Volume 3 depends on the concepts Marx explores in Volume 2.

If the belly of the market is unable to absorb all the canvas at the normal price of 2s. per yard, this proves that too much of the entire working time of society is spent in the form of weaving canvas. The result is the same as if each individual weaver had spent more than the socially necessary labor time on his individual product. Here the saying is valid: “Caught together, hanged together.”

In the second volume of Capital, Marx shifts the focus away from the sphereproduction of goods for circulation. Consideration of market relations, of course, is present in the 1st volume, but the main focus here is on capitalist production. For example, it is assumed that capitalists can find the necessary means of production and buyers for their products on the market. Circulation is decisive for the expansion of capital, since it is only through the sale of commodities that surplus value is produced in the form of profit. Raising the problem of the economic crisis at a number of points in the text, Marx emphasizes the problematic nature of the articulation of capitalist production and exchange.

Most read volume

Image "Capital" Marx

The book "Capital" is best known for the third volume, which states that as the organic requirements for fixed capital of production increase as a result of the general increase in production, the rate of profit tends to decrease. This result, according to orthodox Marxists, is a fundamentally contradictory characteristic leading to the inevitable collapse of the capitalist order. This capitalist order, according to Marx and Engels, is reflected in capitalist production, which inevitably leads to crises. And the resolution of these crises with the old approach is impossible, which gives rise to ideas about the transition to a new level of production, not related to capitalism.

A revolution in the mode of production in one industry causes a revolution in others.

Final part

Let's consider the summary of "Capital" by Karl Marx in the 4th and final volume. It is called "The Theory of Surplus Value".

"The theory of surplus value" is one of Karl Marx's significant contributions to political science. His concept is based on the labor theory of value, which has already been expounded by Ricardo and the classical economists.

According to Marx, of the four elements of production - land, labor, capital and organization - only labor is the source of value. Each commodity represented an exchange value represented by a price. However, the workers receive far less than they produce.

Marx today

Significance of Marx

As a scientist and politician, Marx de alt with a wide range of political and social issues, analyzed history. Interpretations of his theories, especially those relating to political economy, throughout history have generated decades of debate, inspired people to revolution, turned him into a devil and a god in political and scientific circles.

It is undeniable that even after almost 130 years, after the death of the philosopher, even those who previously completely denied them resort to his theories. Marx's thoughts about the exploitative nature of the relationship between capitalist employers and their workers ring true today. The proletariat or those without property continue to seek employment from those who have property. Control over private investment continues to have a decisive influencecapitalist class on the government and on the supply of labor, which guarantees employers a constant increase in capital.

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