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Capital: Critique of Political Economy, Vol 1: The Process of Production of Capital (Capital #1)

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,191 Ratings  ·  269 Reviews
Capital, one of Marx's major and most influential works, was the product of thirty years close study of the capitalist mode of production in England, the most advanced industrial society of his day. This new translation of Volume One, the only volume to be completed and edited by Marx himself, avoids some of the mistakes that have marred earlier versions and seeks to do ju ...more
Paperback, 1152 pages
Published August 12th 1977 by Vintage (first published 1848)
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Dec 21, 2007 Jacob marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cute Marxist girls (call me)
I bought two copies of this book. I gave one copy to my girlfriend. We agreed to read it together. We never did. We broke up. I still have a copy. And so does she. Karl Marx ruins relationships by putting undue pressure on them to perform. I think, if I am ever to be in real a relationship again, I will have to work out my problems with Marxism first. I will post an ad on craigslist. It will say this:

Man with commitment issues and problems understanding the causal relationship between labour and
Louis Althusser wrote a preface to a French translation of Capital and in it he gives lots of advice on how to read this book – I recommend you read this book according to that advice, even if I didn’t quite do that myself. A big part of that advice is to not read in the order that Marx wrote. You see, the first few chapters on the commodity are seriously hard going. Much harder going than just about anything else in the book. In fact, Althusser was pretty well just following Marx’s on advice th ...more
anique Halliday
Mar 26, 2007 anique Halliday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, classics
Do you know how many pages this is? 1152. And worth every leaf on the tree. A must read for anyone willing or wanting to wax grand about capitalism.

Picture it: My first semester in graduate school. Day two. My professor goes over the syllabus, week one: Das Kapital (Marx)/ chps. 1 - 15, 22, 27 etc. I cry for three days lamenting the decision to pursue higher education. Then I read that shit and my little world changes.
Aug 17, 2015 Lotz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthropologize
Marx was a man badly in need of an editor. For all of the financial, amiable, and intellectual support provided by Engels, one wishes that Engels had only he had been more ruthless is cutting the fat from his partner's work. This would have been easy enough at the time, but by now Marx’s writing has acquired a sacred aura.

The main meat of this bloated tome is all in the first few hundred pages. Marx actually lays out his ideas in a very pleasing and pithy manner. I wish the rest of the book was
Jan 27, 2008 nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hot_joints
I have to say, this joint is bangin'. I find it useful when I'm in the club. P.S. Check out the total or expanded form of value. It's defective!
Erik Graff
Dec 29, 2014 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: David Schweickart
I had long avoided reading Das Kapital because I thought it would be too mathematically advanced for me. Taking courses with the Marxist philosopher and mathematician, David Schweickart, induced me to make the effort since his assignments and my own readings of Marx had already become pretty extensive and the avoidance of his most important text seemed silly. So, on my own now, I began carrying the tome about in my backpack, reading most of it at Jim's Deli across Sheridan Road from the Lake Sho ...more
Luís Blue Coltrane
Great unfinished work of Karl Marx, Capital is the bible of the socialist and communist ideology. Long, sometimes perilous, with some touches of redundancy in the way, the book nevertheless offers a vision of the still nascent industrial society in the West. The alienation, labor exploitation, inhuman and devastating. The theory of surplus value, the origin of the money and exchange, division of labor and the conflict between the owners of Labour and those of Capital, Karl Marx gives us the pers ...more
May 04, 2015 Elle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: marxism
'Let us finally imagine, for a change, an association of free men, working with the means of production held in common.'
Fug o' Slavia
Mar 05, 2015 Fug o' Slavia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"First you get the primitive accumulation then you get the Linen, Then you get the Coats, Then you get the Capital, Then you Get the Labour, Then you get The Surplus Value, then you get the mechanization, then you get more Surplus Value" - Tony Montana
Nov 19, 2010 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading this book for way too long. However, it has been a worthwhile experience, revealing the provenance of many leftist values that I may have had sympathy for, but admittedly did not fully understand because I lacked an understanding of origin. Not saying I'm a doctrinaire Marxist now, but that is exactly the whole point of reading Marx at this juncture in the state of leftist social theory/politics... To read it from an non-dogmatic perspective. I think if you do this, Marx has ...more
Krishna Avendaño
El problema con El Capital no es tanto lo pesada que puede resultar su lectura - que lo es -, sino el hecho de que la teoría marxista, a la luz de la realidad, y como lo demostraran varias generaciones de economistas austríacos, tales como Menger, Böhm-Bawerk y Mises, resulta un error teórico. No sólo su análisis sobre la dinámica capitalista es malo - partiendo del equívoco de una teoría del valor-trabajo que ha sido demostrada falsa -, sino que sus ideas conducen a un entendimiento pobre de lo ...more
Chelsea Szendi
May 04, 2010 Chelsea Szendi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory
Vampires, monsters, fetishes! Stick with Marx through the saga of the coat and the M-C-M' and the rewards are so rich. When he guides you from the realm of exchange into the realm of production, I dare you not to feel like you are involved in cracking an incredible mystery. Because you are.
Oct 24, 2007 Savuth4u added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Political Economy
This is the most important book for economist
Sep 21, 2009 Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember when I started reading Capital with the assistance of David Harvey (, but its been a greater education than I could have imagined. I cannot help but keeping many of Marx's theories in mind throughout my daily life. Fetishism of the commodity, production of surplus value, class struggle over the working day, division of labor, struggle between labor and technology, creation of a surplus labor army, process of capital accumulation, primitive accumulation (or ac ...more
Nandakishore Varma
I have not read this book, but am familiar with the gist of it. Until recently, even though I share Marx's aversion of Big Capital in the hands of a Few Individuals, I had not appreciated the real impact.

Every product has two values: the intrinsic value of the product, created by the poor labourer, and the exchange value, which the capitalist sells it for: usually much higher than the intrinsic value. The capitalist pockets the difference, and grows fat like a leech on the life-blood of the poor
Jul 01, 2016 Jesse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the beginning, God (the first commodity) created the heavens (exchange-value) and the earth (use-value). And so begins the materialist Bible, Das Kapital, which, if its abstract theoretical model is to be believed, and I think the case is much stronger for than against, it is the most important book of the industrial, i.e. our, epoch. The two greatest intellectual merits of this work are the discoveries of socially necessary labor-time and the precise nature of surplus value, that is, that it ...more
Sean Sullivan
Dec 18, 2007 Sean Sullivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I think one of the great misconceptions about Capital is that it is dry and difficult. Many people seem to think that reading it would be a chore. Not true. I think if you were to read it on your own or in a study group, you’d find it funny, engaging and not all that hard. It assumes perhaps a small amount of understanding of classical political economy (Malthus, Smith, Ricardo, etc) but not much. I’d say if you’re going to read it, read it in a group, because some of the ideas need to be worked
Karlo Mikhail
Jan 17, 2015 Karlo Mikhail rated it it was amazing
Best way to start the year is finally reading the full text of Capital Vol.1. Previously read only bits and pieces of Marx's magnus opus eclectically (notably the first chapter on commodities, the second part on the transformation of money into capital, the chapters on the labor process and the rate of surplus value, and the last part on primitive accumulation). A great work that not only lays bare the workings of capitalism but also presents a forceful argument for the overthrow of such an expl ...more
David Anderson
Feb 15, 2015 David Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had only read excerpts of Marx's Magnum Opus in the past, despite considering myself a Marxist. It was well worth the effort. The literary quality of the text is higher, less dry and more entertaining than you might expect (Gothic references to vampires and spirits abound). Nor is Marx the narrow economic determinist that he is often portrayed to be; his thinking is more nuanced and complex than that. In fact, I think I now have a much better appreciation for the dialectical method than I did ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
I made the absolute horror of a mistake of listening to this on audio! Once I started I just couldn't put it down (due partly to the amazing nature of the book, and partly to my own neuroses).

The reasons not to listen to this on audio:
1. Too many citations to juggle easily on the audio format!
2. Multiple readers is irritating (no thank you librovox)
3. You will hear the words cotton, capital, trade, exchange, sterling, and Loco Cito so many times on the audio book that you will be saying them
Rocco Christian
Jan 05, 2015 Rocco Christian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you can get through it with its companion by David Harvey than it's well worth reading. The critical analysis of the Capitalist mode of production is pervasive and comes from all angles. Marx explores the Capitalist economy from the perspective of it existing in it's own self-proclaimed perfect conditions, and shows how even in the most perfect, utopian version of Capitalism inequality, division, and exploitation are a necessity. Marx explores how private ownership of the means of production ...more
Jun 05, 2016 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
to be honest the only reason this book rates is because we have godfathers like David Harvey to illuminate it for us. remember the footnote where he makes fun of Malthus for being a virgin? real mature, KARL. also you'll have to look elsewhere if you're looking for evidence of his toxic friendship with Freddy E., fyi!
Jun 30, 2012 graham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Czarny Pies
Oct 05, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone having successfully completed an accounting course.
Recommended to Czarny by: Several peabrains who had taken the Marxist line, hook and sinker.
Shelves: political-theory
Dear Goodreads members, since the software on this site appears to prevent CPAs from signing up, I feel that the duty falls upon me as a CFA charterholder to explain to you just exactly which is wrong with this book which is weirder than Joseph Smith's book of Mormon but more spiritually intense.

Marx comes up with the doctrine of surplus value to justify the violent overthrow of the bourgeois state which he explains with the following example.

-1- a capitalist purchases $100 worth of wood and $10
Apr 23, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third time I've read this book, and I'm confident there will be a fourth, fifth, and even sixth reading. This is the quintessential text for explaining how capitalism is predicated upon the rapacious exploitation of the working class.

Although the review written below contains many errors, and was written during a state of extreme inebriation, I feel no compulsion to edit it.

Fair warning, I’m writing this hung over.

The first time I read this, I gave the book 4
Mark Oppenlander
Karl Marx was an angry man. This book is an economic dissertation, and a political one as well, to some extent. But more than anything else, it is a polemic against the abuses and excesses of the capitalistic system of economic production and distribution.

The book begins with a section that outlines Marx's basic theories of economics. He defines what commodities are, distinguishing between their "utility value" (what they can be used for) and their "exchange value" (what they can be traded for).
J'étais circonspect avant de commencer, mais au final, le capital est un livre tout à fait lisible et édifiant. Marx s'inscrit dans la continuité des études classiques, prend la peine de définir des catégories et étaye avec une culture solide une étude historique qu'il complète par une analyse des statistiques de l'Angleterre. C'est le fruit de longues veilles, d'années de travail minutieux et acharné. Il est difficile de rester calme à la lecture des terribles abus dont furent victimes ces ouvr ...more
Geoff Sebesta
May 26, 2016 Geoff Sebesta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a lot more than a brilliant man writing down the rules to a game that he's losing.

Because of my interest in the Civil War, the Sanders campaign, and the fact that economics has been ruining my life, I have been reading Karl Marx's Capital. Its alright. It's nowhere near as shocking as people make it out to be, nor is it anywhere near is good as other things he wrote. It's mostly a work of philosophy, where he goes through and establishes the definitions for economics and the modern s
Jun 11, 2007 Zach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Capitalists
I bought this at the school book store, read the first part on Commodities and Money. I read Capital on those mornings when I get up early to fish, except never make it outside, so not making much of a profit with no fish. The next best thing to making a living is reading about Capital, although the book is really a tragedy and makes me sad.
Shane Wagoner
Mar 16, 2016 Shane Wagoner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished Capital Vol. 1 and all I can say is wow. Even in the 21st century, this HAS to be the definitive assessment of Capitalism's flaws. Marx demonstrates a deep understanding of the free-market and is much more reserved in his conclusions than some of his followers. He recognizes that Capitalism has brought forth immense productivity on the part of the working class but, as he will later argue, this is at the expense of their well-being. It would be useless to try and summarize an 800 p ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity 1 1 Jun 17, 2016 07:59PM  
  • A Companion to Marx's Capital
  • For Marx
  • The Condition of the Working Class in England
  • Marx's Capital
  • History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics
  • Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism
  • Selections from the Prison Notebooks
  • An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx's Capital
  • An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory
  • The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time
  • The Accumulation of Capital
  • Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century
  • Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation
  • The Philosophy of Marx
(Arabic: كارل ماركس)
In 1818, Karl Marx, descended from a long line of rabbis, was born in Prussian Rhineland. Marx's' father converted to Protestantism shortly before Karl's birth. Educated at the Universities of Bonn, Jena, and Berlin, Marx founded the Socialist newspaper Vorwarts in 1844 in Paris. After being expelled from France at the urging of the Prussian government, which "banished" Marx in
More about Karl Marx...

Other Books in the Series

Capital (3 books)
  • Capital: The Process of Circulation of Capital
  • Capital: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole

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