Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy (Penguin Classics)
A landmark work in the understanding of capitalism, bourgeois society and the economics of class conflict, Karl Marx's Capital is translated by Ben Fowkes with an introduction by Ernest Mandel in Penguin Classics. One of the most notorious works of modern times, as well as one of the most influential, Capital is an incisive critique of private property and the social relations it generates. Living in exile in England, where this work was largely written, Marx drew on a wide-ranging knowledge of its society to support his analysis and generate fresh insights. Arguing that capitalism would create an ever-increasing division in wealth and welfare, he predicted its abolition and replacement by a system with common ownership of the means of production. Capital rapidly acquired readership among the leaders of social democratic parties, particularly in Russia and Germany, and ultimately throughout the world, to become a work described by Marx's friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels as 'the Bible of the Working Class' In his introduction, Ernest Mandel illuminates a revolutionary theory whose impact on the turbulent events of the twentieth century has become ever more apparent. Karl Marx (1818-1883) was born in Trier, Germany and studied law at Bonn and Berlin. In 1848, with Freidrich Engels, he finalized the Communist Manifesto. He settled in London, where he studied economics and wrote the first volume of his major work, Das Kapital (1867, with two further volumes in 1884 and 1894). He is buried in Highgate Cemetery, London. If you enjoyed Capital, you might like Marx and Engels' The Communist Manifesto, also available in Penguin Classics.
Tough but worthwhile
By Howard Sauertieg "Howard Sauertieg" - March 4, 2002
Marx's CAPITAL is frequently condemned by people who've never read it, and lauded by other people who don't fully understand it. I've read it and I don't think I fully understand it, but the main points of the text are pretty clear; Marx drills them into the reader as he unfolds his theory of the basis of capitalism. First, a note on what CAPITAL is not. It is not a "communist" tract, though it is a foundation for communist thought. Marx follows two main trains of thought -- the first is observational, the second diagnostic. He explains how capitalism works, and why it works that way. Disagreeable as some of his ideas may be, they cannot be brushed away by citing the examples of Stalin and Pol Pot to discredit them. Unlike the typical Communist dictator, Marx was a hard-working scholar, a clear thinker, a fundamentally honest writer. His familiarity with the whole spectrum of economic and philosophical writings that preceded him is unquestionable, and CAPITAL is... read more
please read the book before reviewing it!
By Alexander Janums - June 29, 2005
Reading the "reviews" of Capital here on Amazon.com, a person who has read the book can see that most "reviewers" have not even troubled themselves read the book! Instead of taking the time and energy to plow through this work, many would rather get on a soap box and ramble on about their own views thereby "reviewing" the work.
I read the entire book from cover to cover. Not an easy task. It took me more than a year with persistence! But I did it.
Socialism is not mentioned once the the actual work itself. (Of course it is mentioned in the 87 page Introduction which some of the "reviewers" might have bothered to skim through!)
What is the name of the book? Capital! Not Communism or Socialism! One who has bothered to read this long book knows that the book has nothing to do with Communism. The book was supposed to form a scientific explanation of what the Capitalist mode of production was and how it formed and its' inner workings. Marx felt that after... read more
By El Cholo Invisivel - March 17, 2004
I was greatly surprised to find that the words "Communism" and "Socialism" are not even mentioned in Capital, volume 1. This leads me to believe that the most vehement criticisms of this book are by people who haven't read it. I am not by any means a communist, but I found this book to be an excellent description of capitalism. Since we are still living in a capitalist system, much of what Marx says is still relevant today, for example, his analysis on how capitalism exerts continuous pressure to lengthen the work day. I regularly read the Economist and found Marx's criticism of the magazine entertaining. It is worth knowing, for example, that the Economist opposed shortening the work day of children to 10 hours. In another fascinating section, Marx uses the depopulation of Ireland based on the Potato Famine and the resulting land grab by the rich to disprove Malthus' theory on population. He proved how, contrary to what Malthus predicted, despite losing half of its population to... read more
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