Read Capital by Karl Marx Online


Three Volumes: 1: A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production. 2: The Process of Circulation of Capital. 3: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole....

Title : Capital
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ISBN : 9780717800186
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 380 Pages
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Capital Reviews

  • Hadrian
    2019-01-19 22:18

    How could one give a star-rating to Das Kapital? It stands, with Marx's canon, as one of the most influential books in history, perhaps rivaling only some religious texts. With three stars, I think I will have reached a compromise which will offend everyone.Das Kapital is Marx's attempt to codify and transmit his collected observations on the state of capitalism. This is a far cry from the soaring rhetoric of the Manifesto - its aim is to be both a systematic critique of capitalism as well as an empirical description of its methods.Marx's precepts are often transmitted and sloganized, if frequently misunderstood. His writing is imperious and droll, cluttered with arithmatic formulas, but there are many ideas to be squeezed out of it. Some have survived in modern discourse, and some are discredited. Here are a very few:-Commodities are the 'cells' (in the biological sense) of a capitalist society. They have a 'use-value' and 'exchange-value', roughly analogous in purpose to 'value' and 'price' in neoclassicism. Labor is what gives a commodity/product 'value'. -Politics and economics are the major factors in the development of human history. Capitalism can take root once people become objects, when traditional taboos against money and interest are broken, and a 'social capital' is formed - social communication among capitalists which creates a new social order. -The structural contradictions of capitalist economies - bourgeoisie v. proletariat, means of production, and so forth. -Economic crises (booms, busts) are rooted within the very nature of capitalist production.He recognizes the astonishing power and productivity that capital and capitalism have created with new industrial productivity methods. But he also fears it. How destructive it can be to those people and perhaps now, resources which will be consumed to feed its system of eternal unending growth. The first volume is an astonishing endeavor in this regard - it is systematic, almost lyrical for an economics textbook. Marx cites theology and classical poetry and philosophy. He writes vicious attacks on his predecessors - physiocrats, Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, John Say. However, Marx died before his masterwork could be fully completed. It was left to his long-time companion, Friedrich Engels, to dredge up from the morass of notes a fitting conclusion to the text. Volume II is a complete slog, a disorganized rambling mess. I confess that I skipped over some sections and fell asleep multiple times while reading it. Volume III, however, regains lost luster - it contains a bevy of thoughts on the usage of Interest Rates, on Mercantilism, on a Commercial Class, on Interest Rates (Capital Gains), and, as if Marx knew the end was coming, a final summary of his thoughts over the past thousands of pages. What use are these to us in the 21st century?No doubt some of these ideas are mitigated or altered by other theorists and economists. Some have been openly embraced by the orthodox order, some are outside of it. Keynesianism and Neoclassicism grapple squarely both with him as much as they do the old Smithian order and the Austrian school. It is fair to give him credit for asking a few questions which few others had the foresight to ask, although his answers are the most open to doubt.The history of the 20th century is littered with the corpses of new social orders, reactions and counter-reactions to capital. Fascism, communism - even a forcible attempt to engineer a neo-liberal total-free-market state in Chile, starting on 9/11/1973. All of them have ended with brutish totalitarianism, a regression, a master-slave state which seems repugnant to us who live in the capitalist world now. Marx was deliberately vague in his non-propagandistic works, because of the uncertainty of the future forms of socialism - of what form his new world in the stage of human development would take. Perhaps he might not have recognized totalitarianism in any form as 'socialism'. Perhaps now in this time of depression, it is easy to be anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist. I tend to lean that way myself. The endless cycle of growth is unappealing, dangerous, all-consuming. But what alternatives do we have on a global scale? A local one? A sort of watery social-democrat Keynesianism? A technocratic state? A green one? Post-scarcity? Trans-humanism? Full on-Corporatism? Market socialism? Authoritarian democracy? Some combination of all of these?It is easy to cast him out as a historical failure. But with each occurrence of recession, he staggers out of the grave free-market advocates dig for him. Capitalism has been characterized as 'rotten' and 'on the verge of collapse' since the 16th century - and there were fiscal and monetary crises then, sometimes twice a decade. It is an unstable system, but somehow very good at what it does. It remains to Marx and others like him to formulate alternatives, although the process of experimentation and change remain unthinkable to many. If one must read the thing itself, Volume I and the final section of Volume III are those most important - choose from the rest what you will.

  • Bart
    2019-01-22 19:05

    Had Marx avoided moral judgments in this tome, had he stuck only to symptoms of capitalism’s maladies, this book might still be read in the West today. Instead, Marx and his labor theory of value are considered discredited by economics departments and worthy of little more than synopses and essays about the work – Das Kapital is still cited by many and read by none – and this is probably because Marx’s moral remedy led to greater woes than capitalism did.This book is also too long by about 2/3. I would recommend reading it the following way: Review the title and first two pages of each chapter. If you grasp what Marx is after, move along to the next chapter – otherwise, keep reading until you do have a grasp on it. Marx will repeat himself tirelessly and occasionally leaven things with mathematical formulae that are entirely unnecessary for a contemporary reader. If you’re reading Das Kapital for its economics insights, you may skip large parts of the book’s second half. If you are reading it for a condemnation of the moral failures of free-market capitalism, you may skip large parts of the book’s first half – and most of the first halves of each chapter.Is this book still timely in some of its observations? Absolutely. Is it worth the 40 or so hours it takes to read cover-to-cover? Probably not.Here are the book’s two greatest insights, I believe:1. The farther money moves from human labor, the more dangerous it becomes.2. At every moment capitalism reduces the value of every existing commodity and subsequently the value of every skill set required to provide it.The overarching insight that Marx had about capitalism, the one we’re contending with right now, is that it eventually cannibalizes itself.Trouble is, Marx insisted on putting faces on the system. He insisted on chronicling the immorality of some English capitalists of the 1860s. In so doing, he failed to predict today’s United States of America: Everybody is a participant, an exploiter and an exploited, and all are ruined by the system. Today’s corporate officer works 100 hours/week. Today’s lower middle-class laborer works 40 hours/week. One envies the other’s wealth. One envies the other’s time. Neither is fulfilled or content. Both realize capitalism’s constant revolution and reinvention will render them obsolete at least once in their lives.Capitalism’s fundamental instability is incompatible with human contentment.But the acceleration of capitalism’s cycles is not something Marx explicitly predicted. Make no mistake, though: Were Marx able to stand in the middle of today’s Manhattan and behold the meltdown of a commissions-based economy in which trillions of dollars are made by electronically moving capital from one place to another, he would say, “What took so long?”

  • peiman-mir5 rezakhani
    2019-01-05 22:05

    دوستانِ گرانقدر، این کتاب یکی از دشوارترین کتاب هایی است که در زمینهٔ فلسفه و فلسفهٔ سیاسی و اقتصادی، به چاپ رسیده استعزیزانم، در زمان خواندن کتاب، برایِ معنی کردنِ برخی از واژه هایِ فلسفی و سیاسی و فهمِ برخی از جملاتِ این کتاب، بهتر است که از کتب یا رفرنس هایِ دیگر کمک بگیریداین کتاب بسیار تخصصی است و متأسفانه ترجمۀ بسیار ضعیفِ کتاب برایِ غیرقابلِ فهم شدنِ برخی از جملاتِ کتاب نیز، مزیدِ بر علت شده استدوستانِ خردگرا، نمیشود منکر این بود که «مارکس» ظلم ستیز بوده و در راهِ آگاهیِ انسان ها تلاش فراوان نموده است، هر انسانِ خردمندی بیشترِ اقداماتِ «مارکس» را گرامی میدارد، ولی ممکن است در بینِ خردگرایان، در نوعِ پذیرفتنِ اندیشه هایِ «مارکس» اختلافِ سلیقه وجود داشته باشد... به هرحال هرکدام از ما از نظرات و نوعِ تفکرِ فیلسوفِ موردِ پسندمان استفاده کرده و از سخنانِ او بهره میبریم، به عنوانِ مثال، من دوستدارِ فلسفهٔ زنده یاد «برتراند راسل» و «آرتور شوپنهاور» هستم... ممکن است که از دوستانِ خردمند و اهلِ مطالعه، یکی علاقه مند به «نیچه» باشد و دیگری علاقه مند به «مارکس» باشد ... پس مطالعۀ کتبِ فلاسفه و اندیشمندانی که مخالفِ خرافات و موهومات بوده اند، بدون تردید برای شما زیانی نخواهد داشتفلسفهٔ مورد پسندِ من با اندیشه های <مارکس> همسو و همجهت نمیباشد... او از آن دسته از روشنفکرانی بود که هدفش تغییر دادنِ این جهان بود، من شخصاً این روشِ «مارکس» را نمیپسندم... به عقیدهٔ من، به جایِ تغییرِ جهان، بهتر است جهان را بشناسیم... در این یک مورد شناخت بهتر از تغییر میباشدالبته ممکن است که برخی از دوستان با نظرِ من مخالف باشند و الگویِ تغییر جهان موردِ پسندشان باشدپس دوستانِ گرامی، اختلاف در عقیده با یک روشنفکر و فیلسوف، دلیل نمیشود که ما آثار و نوشته هایش را نخوانیم... متأسفانه در ایران بسیاری از مردم و حتی تحصیل کرده ها با آنکه شناختی از <مارکس> و فلسفهٔ او ندارند، اصطلاحی در دهانشان افتاده که به هرکسی که با دین و مذهبشان مخالف باشد به او <مارکسیسم> میگویند در صورتی که هیچ ربطی به یکدیگر ندارند ... و دریغ از ذره ای تحقیق و مطالعه از سوی این مقلّدان!! فقط همچون طوطی حرف های یک سری بیخرد را تکرار میکنند...پس خواهشاً تحتِ تاثیرِ صحبت هایِ عده ای مذهبیِ خرافاتی و بهتر بگویم موجوداتِ «یک کتابی» یا "تک کتابی" قرار نگیرید، و خودتان کتبِ گوناگون را بخوانید و جویایِ راستی و درستی باشید و به نوشته ها و حرف های پوچ و بدون پایه و اساسِ موجوداتِ مذهبی، ذره ای توجه نکنید.. آنها افکارشان توسطِ دین، فاسد و کرم خورده شده است و اندکی فهم به شناختِ فلسفه و فلاسفهٔ نامی ندارند و نخواهند داشت امیدوارم بهترین فلسفه را برایِ زندگی خودتان، در نظر گرفته و توجه زیادی به کرامتِ انسانی خودتان داشته باشید<پیروز باشید و ایرانی>

  • Edward
    2019-01-22 00:18

    IntroductionNote on the TextSelect BibliographyA Chronology of Karl MarxPreface to the First German EditionAfterword to the Second German Edition--Capital [Abridged]Marx's Selected FootnotesExplanatory NotesSubject IndexName Index

  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau
    2019-01-14 19:27

    Did not agree with everything Marx said...but there is no doubt that this book has changed the world.

  • Nelson
    2019-01-06 00:05

    Try to call me an uneducated socialist now, bitches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rowland Pasaribu
    2019-01-22 00:19

    Karl Marx's Capital can be read as a work of economics, sociology and history. He addresses a myriad of topics, but is most generally trying to present a systematic account of the nature, development, and future of the capitalist system. There is a strong economic focus to this work, and Marx addresses the nature of commodities, wages and the worker-capitalist relationship, among other things. Much of this work tries to show the ways in which workers are exploited by the capitalist mode of production. He also provides a history of past exploitations. Marx argues that the capitalist system is ultimately unstable, because it cannot endlessly sustain profits. Thus, it provides a more technical background to some of his more generally accessible works, like The Communist Manifesto.This study guide focuses on one component of Capital, Marx's schema of how the capitalist system functions. Marx argues that commodities have both a use-value and an exchange-value, and that their exchange-value is rooted in how much labor-power went into them. While traditionally people bought commodities in order to use them, capitalists use commodities differently. Their final goal is increased profit. Therefore, they put out money and buy commodities, in order to sell those commodities for a profit. The cycle then repeats itself. The reason why the capitalists are able to make a profit is that they only need to pay workers their value (how much it takes to keep them functional), but the workers produce more than that amount in a day. Thus, the workers are exploited. The capitalists are able to do this because they have more power, and control the means of production. Furthermore, the workers' character is negatively affected by the system. They don't own the products of their labor, and the repetitive work they have to do makes them little more than machines.Marx presents several definitions that will be important throughout his work, so it is very important to be clear on their meanings. A use-value corresponds to the usefulness of an object, and is internal to that object. For example, a hammer is a use-value because of its contributions to building. Its use-value comes from its usefulness. In contrast, a hammer's exchange-value comes from its value relative to other objects. For example, a hammer might be worth two screwdrivers. An object doesn't have an exchange value in itself, but only in its relationship with other objects.However, the fact that the hammer and screwdriver can be exchanged at all suggests that there must be something common between them, some means of comparison. Marx says that this is the object's value. Value means the amount of labor it takes to make the commodities. This labor theory of value is very important to Marx's theory. It implies that the price of commodities comes from how much labor was put into them. One implication of this is that objects with natural use-value, such as forests and other natural resources, do not have value because no labor went into them. One problematic question, then, is how such natural resources can have exchange-value (people do spend money on them) without benefiting from labor. It is also important to consider how Marx's conception of the roots of exchange value differs from modern economic theory. In modern theory, something's exchange value is rooted in people's subjective preferences. While the amount of labor required would be linked to the supply curve of a commodity, its exchange value is also determined by the demand curve. Marx focuses exclusively on labor.This book also gives a general sense of Marx's approach in Capital.Here he dissects one aspect of the modern capitalist system and presents a schema for understanding why it functions as it does. Later Marx will analyze things like the role of money and the capitalist. While this book makes many historical and sociological arguments, it is largely a book of economic theory and its implications.One thing to consider when thinking about Marx's characterization of capitalism is where this capitalistic ethic came from. Marx says that capitalists have an endless need for more money, and that the system of capitalism requires and perpetuates this attitude. Even if this is true, however, it does not explain how capitalism developed in the first place. What made people view M' as an end in itself? Where does this thirst for profit come from? Marx's description does not spend a lot of time explaining how people could have come to develop these ideas. This limitation is a potential theoretical difficulty.Marx spends a lot of time discussing the ways in which capitalism is rooted in social institutions. Capitalism is not natural, but rather depends upon social structures, such as property laws. One social factor that is very important for Marx's theory is that the workers don't own the means of production. Because of this, they must sell their labor to others. It is precisely because workers do own their own labor that they are able to give up all claims to it, by selling it as property. As a result, they don't own the commodities they produce; somebody else owns their labor and the products of that labor. The result is that workers become alienated from their labor—they do not control or own what they create. In Marx's framework, labor-power is a commodity in the market. Its value is determined in the same way as for other commodities, and it is used by capitalists as another commodity in the production process.Marx's labor theory of value becomes very important when looking at the commodity of labor-power. A hammer's value comes from the amount of labor put into it. What, then, is labor-power's value? Marx applies the definition of value—its value is the amount of labor needed to produce and sustain labor-power. Or more simply, it is the amount of labor needed to keep the laborer alive and functioning at his capacity. Let's say that a worker needs $100/week to survive and function. The value of his labor-power is, therefore, $100/week as well. A worker's "price" (his wage) must be at least $100/week in order for the worker to be paid at value. This concept will be very important in later chapters, when Marx will try to show that it is possible to exploit labor.Marx's labor theory of value again makes an appearance, as he tries to explain a seeming paradox. A capitalist purchases all of the inputs needed to make a commodity (labor-power, raw materials, etc.) at their value. He also sells the end-product at its value. If this is the case, where does the surplus value come from? If there's no surplus value, then capitalism cannot exist, because there would be no profit. Marx's answer comes from the unique character of labor- power. Labor-power's use-value (what it can create) is not the same thing as its exchange-value (what is needed to sustain the worker). A worker sells himself at his value, but he produces more than this value. In this way, the capitalist gains surplus-value. This is significant, because it explains how exploitation can occur as the result of a series of freely made trades. The worker could complain that he is not being paid for the value of what he produces. However, the capitalist can reply that the worker is being paid his value. Once the worker is paid for a day's work, the capitalist has the right to use him for a day. Justice is part of the overall mode of production of the times, and as a result, this exchange can be considered "just."Why do the workers put up with such exploitation? Couldn't they demand higher wages, that match the value their labor-power produces? Marx's answer is that the workers don't have the capacity to work without the capitalists; they require factories and other means of production. The workers are selling an abstract capacity to labor, and because of this, the capitalist is able to exploit them by only paying labor-power's value. Consider whether you think Marx's characterization of the labor market is fair. Does labor have the ability to fight exploitation and set wages closer to the value of what they produce? Think of this both historically and theoretically.An important theme in Marx's work is class tension. According to Marx, all of history has been defined by class conflict. Modern times are no different in this regard, and are defined by tension between the capitalist and the worker. Marx describes one source of this tension in this chapter, as he mentions again the asymmetry between the use-value and exchange-value of labor-power (already discussed in Chapter 7). In this class conflict, the capitalists are the stronger class. This allows them to exert more force and define what workers will be paid. However, the fact that they are the stronger class does not simply give capitalists more bargaining power. Rather, social institutions such as property laws are defined to support the capitalists' needs. The mode of production reflects the economic system of capitalism. It will continue to do so, and continue to favor the capitalists, until it self-destructs.It is important to realize that the capitalists cannot behave differently; there will always be tension between them and the workers. The very essence of a capitalist is his desire to gain surplus-value. The only way to do so is to exploit workers by failing to pay workers for the full value of what they produce. In order to survive, the capitalist must exploit. Thus, the tension between workers and capitalists is structural. The capitalist system requires exploitation. Measures to ease workers' hardships, such as a minimum wage or welfare are simply band-aids; they cannot change what a capitalist is.

  • Anna
    2019-01-08 23:11

    It’s shameful that it’s taken me so long to read 'Capital'. I should have done so when I was an undergrad, more than a decade ago. This is not my first attempt, though. I borrowed an aged hardback library edition of Volume 1 in 2011 and was defeated by the 8 (EIGHT) forewords and prefaces; I never made it to Marx’s actual words. This edition seemed more manageable, due to being abridged and having a mere four introductions and prefaces. Abridged or not, ‘Capital’ is undoubtedly hard work. I read it at a third or less of my usual rate. Marx’s sentences are long and often require reading twice to grasp what exactly he means. The sections recounting the development of the industrial revolution are easier, as they are more historical than theoretical. For the most part, however, this is theory and thus dense and demanding. Nonetheless, I found it highly rewarding to read. If, like me, you have been mired in free market economic theory throughout your academic life, 'Capital' can be extremely satisfying. There were times when I could feel it rewiring my brain, as I’d hoped it might. It presents a fundamentally different approach to macroeconomics than the neoclassical economics I’ve been taught since 2001. Given Marx’s dismissal of the classical ('vulgar') economists, I can only imagine how scathing he would be of their heirs. Although I’ve read plenty of theory and academic work that refers to Marxism, none of it gave me more than the vaguest possible grounding in the actual content of 'Capital', because it says so many complex and nuanced things that require careful explanation. There are number of ways in which Marx’s analysis of capitalism significantly differs from neoclassical macroeconomics that seemed important to me: i) the assumption that change is always happening and that technological developments are not a magically exogenous factor (cf the frustrating Solow-Swan model of long term growth).ii) The related disdain for any notion of equilibrium. It’s a non-existent mirage, I swear economics is only obsessed with it because it lends itself to tidy graphs.iii) Assuming from the start that wages are set by how much the employer can get away with paying, not by individual contract negotiations in which employer and employee are somehow on a level playing field.iv) Dismissal of the idea of full employment. Markets cannot achieve this and never have - why would they? Full employment only occurs with heavy government intervention, for example in the UK during WWII when much of the economy was nationalised. Marx’s concept of the reserve labour force remains extremely helpful and apposite today – which is why I’d come across it before.v) Much fuller explanation than macroeconomics can manage of why and how production becomes progressively more capital-intensive, how rates of profit can fall while absolute profits rise, and how the labour-intensity of production can fall while longer hours and higher productivity are perpetually demanded from employees.I have a mug with a picture of Marx in all his bearded glory and the caption, ‘I warned you that this would happen’. It’s true, he did. Although Capital is explicitly analysing relations between capital and labour at a specific point in time, there is an inevitable temptation to extrapolate to the present day (from this and his other work – the Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy is often cited in recent commentary, I should read that). I found a number of points that meaningfully echoed the structural economic problems of today: The capitalist mode of production, while on the one hand, enforcing economy in each individual business, on the other hand, begets, by its anarchical system of competition, the most outrageous squandering of labour-power and of the social means of production, not to mention the creation of a vast number of employments, at present indispensable, but in themselves superfluous.[...]‘It is the absolute interest of every capitalist to press a given quantity of labour out of a smaller, rather than a greater number of labourers, if the cost is about the same. […] The more extended the scale of production, the stronger this motive. Its force increases with the accumulation of capital. […] We have further seen that the capitalist […] progressively replaces skilled labourers by less skilled, mature labour-power by immature, male by female, that of adults by that of young persons or children.[...]The over-work of the employed part of the working class swells the ranks of the reserve, whilst conversely the greater pressure that the latter by its competition exerts on the former, forces them to submit to over-work and to subjugation under the dictates of capital.I thought a lot about the service industries while reading 'Capital'. Of course, factory-based worker exploitation is still very much in existence in 2017; we in Britain just don’t have to look at it. Children and women still work for long hours in terrible conditions to make cheap garments, but in Asia rather than Europe. The impoverished employees of the developed world are now largely in service industry jobs, essentially replicating the work of 19th century domestic servants that has escaped mechanisation. Other than the very rich, most people do not have live-in servants anymore (in the UK housing market there’s no space for them, apart from anything else). Instead, we hire snippets of servitude when getting a house cleaned, or a child minded, or food delivered to our door. Generally such service workers are on insecure low-paid contracts, employed by large companies. This trend is by no means incompatible with Marx’s analysis.Page 389 has a tidy explanation of how service work can become productive to capital: ‘The same labour (for example, that of a gardener, a tailor) can be performed by the same worker on behalf of a capitalist or on immediate uses. In the two cases, he is wage-earning or hired by the day, but, if he works for the capitalist, he is a productive worker, since he produces capital, whereas if he works for a direct user he is unproductive.’ This brought to mind the so-called disruptive platforms like Uber. Whereas a taxi driver working independently was not contributing to the accumulation of capital, an Uber driver is, as a parasitic firm skims off a portion of their takings. These misleadingly-termed ‘sharing economy’ service companies accumulate forms of capital that Marx would likely not recognise, though: personal data and algorithms for the most part.One thing I was left wondering at the end of the book was: how exactly can we define the term ‘capital’ today? (Clearly I should read Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century soon.) A line from the HBO sitcom Silicon Valley sprang to mind: “Our product is our stock”. By some bizarre convolution, tech firms seem to accumulate capital in the form of their own stock valuation, an abstraction that should depend on their capital, profits, turnover, etc. Tech giants and social media companies either make massive losses or profit only by advertising products sold by other companies. Their capital has melted into air, or bytes.This may be a function of the abridged edition I read, which contains almost all of Vol 1 but only extracts of 2 and 3, but I was surprised to find no speculation about the future path of capitalism. I knew that ‘Capital’ would be essentially a historic analysis. However I wonder if there is anything further about the ultimate results of the falling rate of profit relative to capital (‘The progressive tendency of the general rate of profit to fall is, therefore, just an expression peculiar to the capitalist mode of production.’) The current state of Late Capitalism raises the questions: what else can be commoditised? How much faster can the population be persuaded to consume? How much more of the day can be occupied by activities that generate revenue for businesses? Is there a point at which the credit system collapses under the weight of loans that can never be repaid? (In the latter case, 2007/8 could have been a false alarm or an early warning.) There was also less discussion of class than I’d expected. The division into working class, bourgeoisie, landowners, and capitalists was merely assumed as part of the context.Something I did locate, however, was the seed of Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming on pages 231 and 267:‘Not until the invention of Watt’s second and so-called double-acting steam engine, was a prime mover found, that begot its own force by the consumption of coal and water, whose power was entirely under man’s control, that was mobile and a means of locomotion, that was urban and not, like the water-wheel, rural, that permitted production to be concentrated in towns instead of, like the water-wheels, being scattered up and down the country, that was of universal technical application, and, relatively speaking, little affected in its choice of residence by local circumstances.’[...]‘According to Gaskell, the steam engine was from the very first an antagonist of human power, an antagonist that enabled the capitalist to tread under the foot the growing claims of the workmen, who threatened the newly born factory system with a crisis.’My only quibble with ‘Capital’ was occasional disagreement with the translator’s comma placement, although that must have been a real challenge to get right with such lengthy sentences in German. Marx’s occasional zingers were great, particularly the Bentham burns: 'The arch-philistine Jeremy Bentham, that insipid, pedantic, leather-tongued oracle of the ordinary bourgeois intelligence.' Likewise this description of the English parliament: 'a permanent Trade's Union of the capitalists'. In short, 'Capital' definitely did not disappoint. It’s always pleasing when a classic that is still widely read and hugely influential lives up to expectations.

  • C.J.
    2019-01-06 23:08

    Granted I only read it the half way through. But it was still about 600 pages that I read over this summer. It's unlikely that I will return to this book. The experience of reading this book felt like taking a very difficult intellectual hike. The book was massive and very detailed. Maybe one day I can return to it and understand it better.

    2019-01-10 16:09

    If you want to know why Marx is considered to be a "Materialist" by some writers and thinkers, go no further. This is perhaps Marx most densely philosophical book. This is due to Marx breaking down (much like Adam Smith--even with the same language) the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism, how it works and what it does. It ultimately had to be finished by Marx sponsor Fred Engels (who was a Capitalist bastard) and you can't really tell the difference. Some think that Marx (who was basically journalist) could not have written this book. And Capitalists worship this book. Thank you Karl Marx for telling us how it all works.For me (SPOILERS) the best part is this: reading about land, and matter and material and real estate and so on, then into the means of production, then into the next thing and the next, and then it comes: Suddenly you realize "OH, HUMAN BEINGS ARE THE RESOURCE AND COMMODITY BEING TALKED ABOUT!" And from then on it's just scary. Especially Volume III where Engels, finishes up the work. This is definitely the book par excellence of Wall Street and is leather bound on a mahogany bookshelf in Gordon Gecko's office. This is no book on Communism. It's a beautiful song to Capitalism, how it came to be, piece by logical (almost scientific) piece. And for people who think people are just "resources" it's probably their Bible.

  • Farzaneh Shafah
    2019-01-23 22:11

    کتاب را با ترجمه ایرج اسکندری که ترجمه بدتری نسبت به نسخه نشر آگاه است خواندم. به همه قسمت هایش نرسیدم ولی در مجموع کمک بزرگی برایم بود... سرمايه نكارش دقيق و فني ماركس درباره مفاهيم كالا و مبادله و بازار و بول و كار و عناصر نظام سرمايه داري است كه از منطق خاص ماركس بيروي ميكند و در جارجوب نظام او معنا ميابد... خواندش را به كساني كه اندك اشتياقي به فهم اقتصاد دارند به شدت توصيه مي كنم...«كالا به صورت طبيعي اش يعني انجنان كه طبيعتا و به خودي خود هست نه مبادله بذير است و نه معادل هر كالاي ديكر. تنها به عنوان ارزش مبادله اي است كه كالا ذات طبيعي خود را از دست مي دهد و با جيزي غير از خود مبادله مي شود.در ارزش مبادله اي بيوند اجتماعي بين اشخاص به رابطه اجتماعي بين اشيا تبديل مي شود و غناي شخصي هم به ثروت عيني»از كتاب

  • Berry Muhl
    2018-12-23 20:13

    Ugh.Soul-crushing in its hatred of human nature, and irritating in its misconstruing of economic maxims. Beginning with a vast oversimplification of Adam Smith's theory of value, Marx proceeds to describe, for ants, bees and other insectile collectivists, the kind of economics he wishes had evolved among humans. He then offers--via a distortion of the Hegelian dialectic, which is itself a distortion of logic--a historicist, "scientific" account of how the "proletariat" will inevitably rise and take control of the world.Conspiratorial, ignorant, brutally authoritarian. Bring antidepressants.

  • William
    2019-01-19 22:20

    Karl would be spinning in his grave right now and in between gaffuws saying I TOLD YOU SO! as America saves its most stalwart capitalist icons with socialist policies! Read it and understand that the only real value is human labor...not paper or plastic.

  • Vikas Lather
    2018-12-31 22:02

    Breathtaking and revolutionary engagement with means of production, surplus value, alienation of labor, and other capitalistic phenomenons.

  • Ali
    2019-01-16 18:27

    ایده بنیادین مارکس در سرمایه نظریه ارزش کار است. در نظر مارکس هر کالایی یک ارزش مصرفی و یک ارزش مبادله ای دارد که ارزش مبادله ای هر کالا تماما با مقدار کار صرف شده جهت تولید آن تعیین می شود. مارکس اطمینان بسیار زیادی به این نظریه دارد و در جای جای پاره یکم کتاب در صدد توجیه آن است. استدلال های ارائه شده جهت توجیه این نظریه عمدتا مبتنی بر منطق دیالکتیکی است که چندان برای من قابل فهم نبودند و فرازهایی هم که قابل فهم بودند، مقنع نبودند و گاها عجیب! به عنوان مثال: "کالاها به عنوان ارزش مصرفی، بیش از هر چیز، از لحاظ کیفیت با هم تفاوت دارند، حال آنکه به منزله ارزش مبادله ای، تنها از لحاظ کمیت می توانند با هم تفاوت داشته باشند و بنابراین حتی ذره ای ارزش مصرفی هم ندارند." رویکرد مارکس نسبت به این نظریه خالی از ابهام نیست. در ابتدای کتاب با چنان اطمینانی از آن سخن می گوید که گویی به اندازه ی قضایای حساب بدان باور دارد ولی بعدها می پذیرد که عوامل دیگری نیز در تعیین ارزش مبادله ای یا قیمت کالا دخیل است ولی آنها صرفا نوساناتی هستند که صعود و نزولشان همدیگر را خنثی می کند. اگر نظریه ارزش کار صحیح باشد، این سوال ایجاد می شود که پس اساسا نظام سرمایه داری چگونه بوجود می آید؟ پاسخ مارکس به صورت خلاصه چنین است: دزدی کار کارگر توسط سرمایه دار. مزد کارگر با ارزش کالاهای لازم جهت بازتولید وی (هزینه لازم جهت تامین مسکن، خوراک و پوشاک کارگر و خانواده اش) تعیین می شود. حال اگر مزد پرداختی به کارگر معادل 6 ساعت کار باشد، مابقی کار 12 ساعته هر کارگر صرف ارزش افزایی سرمایه کارفرما می شود. اگر خاستگاه سرمایه چنین باشد که مارکس مدعی است، پس چرا سرمایه دار می خواهد با صنعتی تر کردن تولید و کاستن از سرمایه متغیر (دستمزد کارگران) و افزودن به سرمایه ثابت (هزینه ماشین آلات و ...) بهره وری تولید خود را افزایش دهد؟ مارکس پاسخ می دهد که قیمت هر کالا توسط میانگین کار اجتماعی لازم جهت تولید آن تعیین می شود و تا زمانی که تکنولوژی جدید عمومیت نیافته است، سود کلانی از افزایش بهره وری عاید سرمایه دار می شود. تمایل به افزایش بهره وری و صنعتی شدن دیگر شاخه های تولید سبب جذب و دفع پیوسته کارگران به کارخانه ها می شود. روند صنعتی شدن و اخراج کارگران طی دوران رکود سبب شکل گیری ارتش ذخیره صنعتی (کارگران پاره وقت و بیکاران) می شود. تشکیل این ارتش ذخیره سبب بر هم خوردن توازن عرضه و تقاضای کار، کاهش دستمزد کارگران شاغل و افزایش استثمار آنان می شود. مارکس می نویسد: "هر چه لایه های مستمند شده ی طبقه ی کارگر و ارتش ذخیره ی صنعتی گسترده تر می شوند، بینوایی رسمی بیشتر می شود. این قانون مطلق و عام انباشت سرمایه داری است." حجم زیادی از کتاب به توصیف شرایط دهشتناک کارگران در نظام سرمایه داری اختصاص یافته که الحق خواندنی ترین قسمت های کتاب هم هستند. فراز زیر در توصیف خاستگاه سرمایه اولیه متقدم بر تولید سرمایه داری می تواند تصویری عمومی از شرح وقایع مارکس باشد: "اگر به گفته ی اوژیه، ((پول با لکه ی خون مادرزادی بر گونه اش پا به عرصه جهان می گذارد))، سرمایه در حالی زاده می شود که از فرق سر تا نوک پا و از تمام منافذش، خون و کثافت بیرون می زند." مارکس اشارات بسیار مختصری به شکل نظام پساسرمایه داری (کمونیسم) می کند ولی رد پای آن در تحلیل مارکس از سرمایه آشکار است. فکر میکنم تاکید بسیار بر نظریه ارزش کار و چشم پوشی از دیگر شاخه های اقتصاد عمدتا ناشی از باور راسخ مارکس به سیر تحول تاریخی منتهی به کمونیسم باشد. ایراد اساسی مارکس را شاید بتوان در جمله ای از رودبروتوس یاگتسوف که توسط انگلس به ویراست سوم کتاب افزوده شده است (البته با هدف تقبیح وی)، بیان کرد: "کلا، کتاب مارکس نه تحقیقی درباره ی سرمایه بلکه بیشتر جدلی است علیه شکل کنونی سرمایه که وی آن را با مفهوم خود سرمایه اشتباه می گیرد"تعدادی از دوستان در ریویوها از ترجمه ی کتاب انتقاد کرده اند. من ویراست دوم ترجمه ی آقای حسن مرتضوی را خواندم. فکر میکنم ترجمه ی خوبی است و البته ایشان هم در مقدمه اشاره کرده اند که در ویراست دوم تغییرات قابل توجهی نسبت به ویراست اول داده اند. سرمایه کتاب دشواری نیست به جز بعضی قسمت ها که آن هم ناشی از توسل مارکس به منطق دیالکتیکی و تمایل وی به توضیح پیچیده مفاهیم ساده است.

  • laura
    2019-01-09 23:25

    Whatever your political stance it's impossible to deny the influence of Marx's works, this one in particular. It's a real wonder, how one persons ideology put into written word can shape the world even today. At the very least, you can appreciate it from that standpoint.Truly though, the book is convincing and reading it with historical awareness can enable you to enlighten yourself further. It's a great read, and I look forward to reading his other works.Christ, this review sounds pretentious.

  • David
    2019-01-13 19:04

    I should say that I did not read this unabridged, I kinda doubt that even Trotsky did.

  • Lauren Sheil
    2018-12-25 20:18

    I just finished reading “Capital”, Karl Marx’s seminal work on political economy originally published in 1867 toward the end of the industrial revolution. The following is a summary of quotes from the book that I’ve been tweeting for the past few days along with my impressions and comments on each. “The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future.” #marxThroughout the book Marx appears to me to be similar on tone to all the great development economists of his time. In taking an honest look at the status of England and it’s development up to this point he says that this process of development is inevitable. “To appropriate labour during all the 24 hours of the day is, therefore, the inherent tendency of capitalist production.” #marxMarx is clearly on the side of labour. His remarks on the role of the capitalist and the way in which labour is exploited are many and pointed. This is just one of many, this is another..“The capitalist mode of production produces the premature exhaustion and death of the labour force itself.” #marxMarx goes on to decry the lack of intellect and intiative required of the worker as mechanism increased and the division of labour continued to refine with comments like these;“The workman’s repetition of the same act, teach him by experience how to attain the desired effect with the minimum of exertion.” #marx “Manufacturers prosper most where the mind is least consulted, and where the workshop may be considered as an engine of men.” #marx“In handicrafts and manufacture, the workman makes use of a tool, in the factory, the machine makes us of him.” #marx What is lacking most in Marx’s critique of the industrial revolution is a clear understand of market forces. The way Marx explains it, it’s as if the entire economy is predicated on the relationship between the capitalist and the worker but the consumer is left completely out of the equation. Cost is measured in the amount of labour required for the worker to survive, profit a function of surplus labour that can be produced beyond that cost. The law of supply and demand and other market forces are completely absent from Marx’s theory of capital. Finally at the end of the book Marx does pay lip service to the consumer when he states; “That which comes directly face to face with the possessor of money on the market is in fact not labour, but the labourer.” #marxAlmost begrudgingly and without fan-fair Marx concludes that the surplus value of the labourer is, in the end spent on consumerism and without the consumer the entire system falls apart. But just who the consumer is and how much both the capitalist and the labourer depend on him is left un-explored. It’s clear from this work that Marx is anti-capitalist in the sense that capitalists in his estimation were exploiting workers but the leap from there to traditional communism is far from direct. Labour advocate, yes, but that does not directly lead to communism. The Communist Manifesto notwithstanding, communism as a system of government was developed much later and much of the personal suffering and oppression associated with communist regimes of the 20th century has less to do with the economics of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels than they do with the politics of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Indeed toward the end of his life, after seeing what some groups where doing with his work, Marx himself famously stated was NOT a Marxist.

  • David Miller
    2019-01-21 20:10

    As many will note, Marxism in its most "Marxist" sense is basically an obsolete system. Das Kapital is very much a product of the nineteenth century, and a perceptive reader can easily find traces of modes of thought that are no longer of the moment. But socialism, more broadly, is very much a living thing, and it is just as readily apparent how important this critique of the corrosive effects of capitalism has been to socialism's development.The edition I read presents the core of Marx's analysis and arguments while condensing it at the expense of sections the editor deems irrelevant to the present. Of course, what the "present" is to the editor is an important fact to consider: I can't seem to find the date of the introduction's original writing, but the events it references seem to place it in 1959 or 1960, which in terms of economic history is rapidly growing remote. In any event an abridgment is welcome, since the prose itself is quite difficult. Even so, with careful reading it is still very possible to follow the line of the argument.Marx is known for a particular model of history, characterized as a series of eras defined by economic systems and characterized by the struggle between social classes. It is with this model that he not only explains how capitalism came to be (which, much as he clearly despises the system, is still in accordance with "natural laws" as he defines them), but also predicts how it will ultimately destroy itself. This model is, for me, one of Marxism's weakest points. Class struggle is a perfectly fine lens with which to view history, but it is not the only legitimate one, and predictions about the future based on a single ideological construct are hit or miss at best. With over a century between us, I think we can safely say things didn't turn out quite like Marx thought.But after all that, I don't believe that capitalism has survived into the twenty first century because Marx was wrong about its true nature. If anything, Marx and his cohorts underestimated capitalism's ability and willingness to say and do anything to survive, making compromises and tactical retreats in order to retain a fundamental grip on society. One need only look at the financial crisis of 2008, the ongoing exploitation of poorer countries by corporations looking to score cheap labor, or the tremendous burdens of student loan debt or health care costs to see that capitalism remains fundamentally amoral and recklessly unconcerned with the welfare of society. And from where I'm standing, it's very hard to refute the moral implication of Marx's labor theory of value: that workers and not capitalists are entitled to the fruits of their work.Das Kapital is a strenuous read and not entirely convincing on all points (particularly on the issue of history), but it puts the lie to capitalism, and in this century we need to hear that. Capitalism is not inevitable. It is not "human nature". It is an ideological justification for social inequality, and nothing more.

  • Leo Hsieh
    2018-12-24 00:02

    Das Kapital is one of Karl Marx's greatest published book, it was also the revolutionary book at that time period, even now this book provides a deep insight on capitalism and the pros and cons of it.This book, unlike the Communist Manifesto is more on a analysis on political economy and the ethics of a capitalist market. I recommend this book because of it's diversity, it is not a book about how bad capitalism is, but also the sociological, philosophical and economical impact of capitalism that isn't that complicated than it seems. This book certainly requires some patience in reading, but this is definitely a enjoyable book for most people to read.

  • Keith
    2019-01-05 21:59

    I read this while in High School and at the time I thought the ideas where good but as I have grown older I have found that the ideas of Marx are incompatible with the driving forces of man. We would need to go through a radical evolution of mind to even be able to adopt any of Marx and if you take his ideas and apply them to a microcosm of individual families you can see the break down pretty quickly.

  • ➸ Gwen de Sade
    2018-12-31 17:01

    This was great, it's just really hard to read, that's why it took me nearly 3 months to finish this. I should probably get myself some "Marx for Morons" :D

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-01-23 21:28

    مارکس اين کتاب را نقدی بر اقتصاد بورژوائی از ديدگاه منافع طبقه کارگر میداند

  • Evan
    2018-12-31 22:02

    Again, we have editions that are not combining in the system. So my review for Capital... (the English translation) are not combining with Das Kapital, basically meaning my review -- such as it is -- has not shown up for most of the editions on Goodreads. So, again, I now have two review entries for the same book. Rather than copy and paste the review, here is the link to it:

  • vhatos
    2018-12-24 21:10

    Доводилося читати під примусом, не дуже й хотілося. Зараз розумієш, що твір фундаментальний і важливий, якщо відкинути ідеологічні його аспекти.

  • bartosz_witkowski
    2018-12-30 17:01

    Reading Das Kapital by Marx was a month long struggle and, I must admit, that after I slogged through the first part I kept on reading only out of spite.Marx's magnum opus didn't age well, in part because it is so atrociously written. The book is full of gratuitous use of Latin, French, Italian (and I assume that in the original - German - edition, English too), subtle literally call outs (e.g «Who fails here to call to mind our good friend, Dogberry, who informs neighbour Seacoal, that, “To be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune; but reading and writing comes by Nature.») and dryness of language. I laugh every time when I think that the book written in part to the working class.Capital, Volume 1 book is divided into 8 parts spanning 33 chapters. The first part goes to great lengths about Marx's underlying theory of commodities, surplus value and surplus labor. It's fascinating to see what predictions can be made from a faulty model.While it might not have been obvious at the time, Marx's assumptions about values, and transactions are now obviously wrong to anyone with even a modicum of knowledge of current economic theory.First of all Marx assumes that commodities have a "natural" value, and that the price is not subjective. A second big assumption is that commodities gain their value via labor. If that would be true, countries in which people have to travel many miles for water, should undoubtedly, be the wealthiest ones. Going further, Marx doesn't perceive the uniqueness of labor, skill or people. Everywhere he assumes "average labor" or "average time and skill". He also assumes that skilled labor loses its value compared to average labor. This is clearly not true in a world where premium skills or objects get premium prices.The worst offender, is Marx' surplus labor theory. The only way for a capitalist to make money is (according to Marx) exploiting the free time of the laborer. While it is true that a capitalist won't hire anyone unless he can gain from his labor, Marx glosses over (or mocks?) the fact that "exchange is a transaction by which both sides gain" [Part 2, Chapter 5]. Selling labor for money is an example of such an exchange. People don't engage in transactions which don't benefit them (unless they're forced to). Nevertheless, it's hard not to sympathize with Marx. The rest of the book goes into the history and the current state of the labor class and how it relates to Marx's theory of capitalist exploitation. The details of the exploitations of laborers and the analogues to the present day are hair raising. How the rights of workers were dismissed in the name of profits for the few is as true now as it was then. How, back in the day, the preferred method of placating the working population was by keeping it ignorant and dumb - the current day problems of education raises the question how we are kept in the dark. And the statistics about child labor are simply scary - in part because there are plenty of countries left where that still is the norm.Marx's ideas have since been proven not to have a basis in reality, and each implementation of communism ended in failure. It is therefore surprising to see Marx's and ideas and arguments (like the assumption that all work exploits the laborer) are parroted by people today.I didn't like first volume of Capital. I'm not looking forward to reading the second one. Nevertheless it is an important book, one, which I wouldn't wish to have not read.

  • Scott
    2019-01-16 00:05

    I read this book for one of my classes at the U. Here is the best summary of the book I could find:The central driving force of capitalism, according to Marx, was in the exploitation and alienation of labour. The ultimate source of capitalist profits and surplus was the unpaid labor of wage laborers. Employers could appropriate the new output value because of their ownership of the productive capital assets—protected by the state. By producing output as capital for the employers, the workers constantly reproduced the condition of capitalism by their labor. However, though Marx is very concerned with the social aspects of commerce, his book is not an ethical treatise, but an attempt to explain the objective "laws of motion" of the capitalist system as a whole, its origins and future. He aims to reveal the causes and dynamics of the accumulation of capital, the growth of wage labor, the transformation of the workplace, the concentration of capital, competition, the banking and credit system, the tendency of the rate of profit to decline, land-rents and many other things.

  • Robert Mahon
    2019-01-20 19:06

    Let's face it, Marx was more philosopher than economist. He spent a lifetime trying to justify a particular ideology/philosophy....based primarily on jealousy. He insists upon putting an intrinsic value of things (e.g., labor)....rather than the value which the market determines for them, based on their free marketable worth based on free exchange. In a fair and free market, labor is not "cheated". It is just like any other product, which is demanded and supplied. Keep in mind that much of what you see today is not true capitalism based on free choices and markets. It is something quite different.

  • Arvind Passey
    2018-12-27 00:26

    Buy it... keep it... do read it sometime is all I can say of this book. Not everyone will be interested in the concepts expressed in the pages. However, going through the concepts helps one in understanding the delicate relationship of humans with other humans within the structured frame-work of civilization.

  • Samer Mansour
    2019-01-16 20:25

    رأس المال كتاب قيم جدا لكل من أراد أن يفهم حقيقة المقولة الماركسيةأن الرأسمالية تحفر قبرها بيديها!يبدأ بتحليل فلسفي عن السلعة التي تعتبر حجر الاساس في الراسمالية .. يحلل النقد وظهوره ووظيفته واختزاله للعمل المبذول في انتاج السلعة ..يتحدث عن السوق وآلياته ,, عن الامبريالية كمرحلة عليا من الرأسمالية