An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx's Capital

An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx's Capital

An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx's Capital

An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx's Capital

Synopsis

The global economic crisis and recession that began in 2008 had at least one unexpected outcome: a surge in sales of Karl Marx's Capital. Although mainstream economists and commentators once dismissed Marx's work as outmoded and flawed, some are begrudgingly acknowledging an analysis that sees capitalism as inherently unstable. And of course, there are those, like Michael Heinrich, who have seen the value of Marx all along, and are in a unique position to explain the intricacies of Marx's thought. Heinrich's modern interpretation of Capital is now available to English-speaking readers for the first time. It has gone through nine editions in Germany, is the standard work for Marxist study groups, and is used widely in German universities. The author systematically covers all three volumes of Capital and explains all the basic aspects of Marx's critique of capitalism in a way that is clear and concise. He provides background information on the intellectual and political milieu in which Marx worked, and looks at crucial issues beyond the scope of Capital, such as class struggle, the relationship between capital and the state, accusations of historical determinism, and Marx's understanding of communism. Uniquely, Heinrich emphasizes the monetary character of Marx's work, in addition to the traditional emphasis on the labor theory of value, this highlighting the relevance of Capital to the age of financial explosions and implosions.

Excerpt

Protest is occurring again. in 2011 the “Arab Spring” rocked the Arab world and overthrew a number of rulers, who seemed to be invincible, at least to their people. in summer people in several countries of Western Europe were inspired by the actions of the Arab Spring. They conquered public places to protest against the policies of the governments. and in fall 2011 “Occupy Wall Street” started in New York leading to “Occupy”movements in many other countries. With the banking crisis of 2008 more people than ever during the last decades question capitalism: is it really the system which provides freedom and wealth for the majority as is promised by its supporters? Or is it the system which brings wealth only to the 1 percent and economic pressure and misery at different levels to the 99 percent? Even beyond traditionally left circles, discussions about the destructive consequences of capitalism are taking place.

That this is not a matter of course is proven by a quick glance into the past. At the beginning of the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it seemed as though capitalism had ultimately and globally triumphed as an economic and social model to which there was no alternative. Although there had always been many on the left who did not see a desirable alternative to capitalism in Soviet “really existing socialism,” such distinctions no longer seemed important. To most people, a society beyond the capitalist . . .

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