Marx's Capital revolutionised the subject of political economy. Written over 150 years ago, it revealed for the first time the real workings of capitalism. It was, however, met with a wall of silence from mainstream economists and the establishment. Despite this, Capital became regarded in the labour movement as the Bible of the working class.
Basing himself on the most advanced material of the age, Marx was able to explain the mysteries that the classical economists were incapable of resolving. What is value? Where does profit come from? How are workers exploited? Why does the system face periodic crises?
Marx was able to answer these questions by analysing the main contradictions of capitalism. He was able to explain how the system would eventually reach its limits and enter into decline and demise.
Like other sciences, political economy has its own terminology, which can sometimes be difficult to digest. Those prepared to overcome such hurdles, however, will find that Marx's Capital contains a veritable feast of ideas and a new way of looking at the world.
Written by authors from the International Marxist Tendency, this book is intended to help guide readers through the pages of volume one of Capital. The aim is to bring out the main themes and ideas contained within Marx’s economic writings.
Understanding Capital allows us to understand the crisis-ridden world around us today - and, most importantly, how we can radically transform it.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways," Marx famously asserted. "The point, however, is to change it."
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Table of Contents
Introduction: The Making of Marx’s Capital ix
Introduction: Marxism in our Time xxiii
1) Chapter 1: The Commodity 3
2) Chapters 2-3: Money 23
3) Chapters 4-8: Surplus-value 39
4) Chapters 9-11: Exploitation 59
5) Chapters 12-14: Productivity, Co-operation, and the Division of Labour 73
6) Chapter 15: The Machine 85
7) Chapters 16-22: Wages 101
8) Chapters 23-25: Accumulation 117
9) Chapters 26-33: The Origins of Capitalism 137
Appendix 1: The Organic Crisis of Capitalism 155
Appendix 2: ‘Underconsumption’ and the Marxist Theory of Crisis 181
Appendix 3: The Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall 199
List of Titles by Wellred Books 231