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Capital, Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy


Capital, Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy Cover

ISBN13: 9780140445688
ISBN10: 0140445684
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Das Kapital, originally intended as an unbelievably ambitious (and never completed) six-volume work, represents one of the key landmarks in the scientific understanding of capitalist development, bourgeois society and the economics of class conflict.

"What I have come to examine in this work," wrote Marx in the Preface, "is the capitalist mode of production," its natural laws and tendencies "winning their way through and working themselves out with iron necessity." In Volume 1 (1867) years of research resulted in a marvellously lucid exposition that builds up from the basic unit of the commodity to a detailed consideration of the labour theory of value, the role of money, the modern factory system and the ways in which capital extorts surplus-value from wage-labour. Throughout, Marx draws on a profound knowledge of nineteenth-century England to support his analysis and generate countless fresh insights. Yet despite the failure of some of his prophecies, there is nothing dated about Marx's main contentions and conclusions: as Ernest Mandel suggests in his stimulating introduction, "Today's Western world is much nearer to the 'pure' model of Capital than was the world in which it was composed.


Marx's major work was the product of 30 years' close study of the most advanced industrial society of his day. Marx devoted most of his adult life to analyzing the "laws of motion" of capitalism. The result was his contribution to a critique of political economy.


This 1867 study—one of the most influential documents of modern times—looks at the relationship between labor and value, the role of money, and the conflict between the classes.

Table of Contents

Capital Introduction by Ernest Mandel

Translator's Preface

Preface to the First Edition

Postface to the Second Edition

Preface to the French Edition

Postface to the French Edition

Preface to the Third Edition (by Engels)

Preface to the English Edition (by Engels)

Preface to the Fourth Edition (by Engels)


Part One: Commodities and Money

Chapter 1: The Commodity

1. The Two Factors of the Commodity: Use-Value and Value (Substance of VAlue, Magnitude of Value)

2. The Dual Character of the Labour Embodied in Commodities

3. The Value-Form, or Exchange-Value

(a) The Simple, Isolated, or Accidental Form of Value

(1) The two poles of the expression of value: the relative form of value and the equivalent form

(2) The relative form of value

(i) The content of the relative form of value

(ii) The quantitative determinacy of the relative form of value

(iii) The equivalent form

(iv) The simple form of value considered as a whole

(b) The Total or Expanded Form of Value

(1) The expanded relative form of value

(2) The particular equivalent form

(3) Defects of the total or expanded form of value

(c) The General Form of Value

(1) The changed character of the form of value

(2) The development of the relative and equivalent forms of value: their interdependence

(3) The transition from the general form of value to the money form

(d) The Money Form

4. The Fetishism of the Commodity and Its Secret

Chapter 2: The Process of Exchange

Chapter 3: Money, or the Circulation of Commodities

1. The Measure of Values

2. The Means of Circulation

(a) The Metamorphosis of Commodities

(b) The Circulation of Money

(c) Coin. The Symbol of Value

3. Money

(a) Hoarding

(b) Means of Payment

(c) World Money


Chapter 4: The General Formula for Capital

Chapter 5: Contradictions in the General Formula

Chapter 6: The Sale and Purchase of Labour-Power


Chapter 7: The Labour Process and the Valorization Process

1. The Labour Process

2. The Valorization Process

Chapter 8: Constant Capital and Variable Capital

Chapter 9: The Rate of Surplus-Value

1. The Degree of Exploitation of Labour-Power

2. The Representation of the Value of the Product by Corresponding Proportional Parts of the Product

3. Senior's "Last Hour"

4. The Surplus Product

Chapter 10: The Working Day

1. The Limits of the Working Day

2. The Voracious Appetite for Surplus Labour. Manufacturer and Boyar

3. Branches of English Industry without Legal Limits to Exploitation

4. Day Work and Night Work. The Shift System

5. The Struggle for a Normal Working Day. Laws for the Compulsory Extension of the Working Day, from the Middle of the Fourteenth to the End of the Seventeenth Century

6. The Struggle for a Normal Working Day. Laws for the Compulsory Limitation of Working Hours. The English Factory Legislation of 1833-64

7. The Struggle for a Normal Working Day. Impact of the English Factory Legislation on Other Countries

Chapter 11: The Rate and Mass of Surplus-Value


Chapter 12: The Concept of Relative Surplus-Value

Chapter 13: Co-operation

Chapter 14: The Division of Labour and Manufacture

1. The Dual Origin of Manufacture

2. The Specialized Worker and His Tools

3. The Two Fundamental Forms of Manufacture - Heterogeneous and Organic

4. The Division of Labour in Manufacture, and the Division of Labour in Society

5. The Capitalist Character of Manufacture

Chapter 15: Machinery and Large-Scale Industry

1. The Development of Machinery

2. The Value Transferred by the Machinery to the Product

3. The Most Immediate Effects of Machine Production on the Worker

(a) Appropriation of Supplementary Labour-Power by Capital. The Employment of Women and Children

(b) The Prolongation of the Working Day

(c) Intensification of Labour

4. The Factory

5. The Struggle between Worker and Machine

6. The Compensation Theory, with Regard to the Workers Displaced by Machinery

7. Repulsion and Attraction of Workers through the Development of Machine Production. Crises in the Cotton Industry

8. The Revolutionary Impact of Large-Scale Industry on Manufacture, Handicrafts and Domestic Industry

(a) Overthrow of Co-operation Based on Handicrafts and on the Division of Labour

(b) The Impact of the Factory System on Manufacture and Domestic Industries

(c) Modern Manufacture

(d) Modern Domestic Industry

(e) Transition from Modern Manufacture and Domestic Industry to Large-Scale Industry. The Hastening of this Revolution by the Application of the Factory Acts to those Industries

9. The Health and Education Clauses of the Factory Acts. The General Extension of Factory Legislation in England

10. Large-Scale Industry and Agriculture


Chapter 16: Absolute and Relative Surplus-Value

Chapter 17: Changes of Magnitude in the Price of Labour-Power and in Surplus-Value

1. The Length of the Working Day and the Intensity of Labour Constant; the Productivity of Labour Variable

2. The Length of the Working Day and the Productivity of Labour Constant; the Intensity of Labour Variable

3. The Productivity and Intensity of Labour Constant; the Length of the Working Day Variable

4. Simultaneous Variations in the Duration, Productivity and Intensity of Labour

Chapter 18: Different Formulae for the Rate of Surplus-Value


Chapter 19: The Transformation of the Value (and Respectively the Price) of Labour-Power into Wages

Chapter 20: Time-Wages

Chapter 21: Piece-Wages

Chapter 22: National Differences in Wages


Chapter 23: Simple Reproduction

Chapter 24: The Transformation of Surplus-Value into Capital

1. Capitalist Production on a Progressively Increasing Scale. The Inversion which Converts the Property Laws of Commodity Production into Laws of Capitalist Appropriation

2. The Political Economists' Erroneous Conception of Reproduction on an Increasing Scale

3. Division of Surplus-Value into Capital and Revenue. The Abstinence Theory

4. The Circumstances which, Independently of the Proportional Division of Surplus-Value into Capital and Revenue, Determine the Extent of Accumulation, namely, the Degree of Exploitation of Labour-Power, the Productivity of Labour, the Growing Difference in Amount between Capital Employed and Capital Consumed, and the Magnitude of the Capital Advanced

5. The So-Called Labour Fund

Chapter 25: The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation

1. A Growing Demand for Labour-Power Accompanies Accumulation if the Composition of Capital Remains the Same

2. A Relative Diminution of the Variable Part of Capital Occurs in the Course of the Further Progress of Accumulation and of the Concentration Accompanying It

3. The Progressive Reduction of a Relative Surpluse Population or Industrial Reserve Army

4. Different Forms of Existence of the Relative Surplus Population. The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation

5. Illustrations of the General Law of Capitalist Accumulation

(a) England from 1846 to 1866

(b) The Badly Paid Strata of the British Industrial Working Class

(c) The Nomadic Population

(d) Effect of Crises on the Best Paid Section of the Working Class

(e) The British Agricultural Proletariat

(f) Ireland


Chapter 26: The Secret of Primitive Accumulation

Chapter 27: The Expropriation of the Agricultural Population from the Land

Chapter 28: Bloody Legislation against the Expropriated since the End of the Fifteenth Century. The Forcing Down of Wages by Act of Parliament

Chapter 29: The Genesis of the Capitalist Farmer

Chapter 30: Impact of the Agricultural Revolution on Industry. The Creation of a Home Market for Industrial Capital

Chapter 31: The Genesis of the Industrial Capitalist

Chapter 32: The Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation

Chapter 33: The Modern Theory of Colonization

Appendix: Results of the Immediate Process of Production

Introduction by Ernest Mandel

I. Commodities as the Product of Capital

II. Capitalist Production as the Production of Surplus-Value

III. Capitalist Production is the Production and Reproduction of the Specifically Capitalist Relations of Production

IV. Isolated Fragments

Quotations in Languages Other than English and German

Index of Authorities Quoted

General Index

Note on Previous Editions of the Works of Marx and Engels

Chronology of Works by Marx and Engels

What Our Readers Are Saying

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JoseLector, March 11, 2014 (view all comments by JoseLector)
This is one of the most important books in history. And while Marx is laying down the fundamentals of capitalist production (in later volumes, he did and planned to go into more parts of the capitalist system), he fills it with wit, literary references, and a rigorous use of the dialectical method. Reading this book makes me smarter as a business owner, as an anti-capitalist, as a worker, and helps me learn a tool that I use to look at the world with fresh eyes. It is not a historical document, it is as relevant as ever- because though capitalism has developed well past the stage it was in during Marx's day, he actually figured capitalism out.
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Kenny, November 30, 2006 (view all comments by Kenny)
Incredible, unique outlook on the capitalist mode of production. One of the prime reads for any economist seeking to understand capitalism, be you a part of the left spectrum or right, it is a terrific, intelligent read.
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Product Details

Fowkes, Ben
Cohen, J. M.
Fowkes, Ben
Mandel, Ernest
Marx, Karl
Fowkes, Ben
Cohen, J. M.
Penguin Books
London ;
Communism & Socialism
History & Theory - Radical Thought
Political Ideologies - Communism & Socialism
Free Enterprise
Politics-Leftist Studies
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.82x5.14x2.06 in. 1.71 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Capital, Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy New Trade Paper
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Product details 1152 pages Penguin Books - English 9780140445688 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Marx's major work was the product of 30 years' close study of the most advanced industrial society of his day. Marx devoted most of his adult life to analyzing the "laws of motion" of capitalism. The result was his contribution to a critique of political economy.
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This 1867 study—one of the most influential documents of modern times—looks at the relationship between labor and value, the role of money, and the conflict between the classes.
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