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Capital, Vol. 1: A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production

(Capital #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  7,915 ratings  ·  443 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 December 6th 1990 by Penguin Classics (first published September 14th 1867)
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Sivart Read alongside David Harvey's guide or open online class. Make it through the 3rd chapter on money and you'll be good. Chapter 3 is difficult, accept …moreRead alongside David Harvey's guide or open online class. Make it through the 3rd chapter on money and you'll be good. Chapter 3 is difficult, accept that and you'll make it the rest of the way.(less)
Serhan Celebi I'm reading this alongside David Harvey's "A Companion to Marx Capital". It enables a lot better understanding of Capital. I employ the method of read…moreI'm reading this alongside David Harvey's "A Companion to Marx Capital". It enables a lot better understanding of Capital. I employ the method of reading a few chapters from Marx and then switching back to David Harvey. This is quite helpful; I highly recommend. David Harvey himself recommends this method as well.

Regarding your other question about easiness. I'm around page 400 and the chapter "Working Day" is quite plain and somehow dull as Marx leverages parliamentary reports on the conditions of the worker in the 19th century Britain. To my understanding, Marx lays out the most important concepts in the first chapters, that's why they are quite difficult as they are more like high level philosophical texts. I'm curious to see if he will get back to the previous concepts though, which are quite interesting from my own point of view.(less)
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Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Always Pouting
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I remember seeing a review on here for this book from a guy who said he bought two copies of this book, one for himself and one for his girlfriend and that he didn't have a girlfriend anymore. I'm bringing this up because actually my boyfriend got me this book, as one of my birthday gifts none the less, and I have to say for the first three hundred pages it felt like I could really empathize with the other man's girlfriend.

This was really really annoying to read I'm going to be honest. I person
Mar 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Roy Lotz
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 wa
Erik Graff
Jul 17, 2009 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
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
Capital, at least the first volume anyway, is not the most significant elucidation of a politico-economic critique of the past millennia. It is not because many governments have been supported by pillars of so-called Marxism, or because by some miracle this book has been actually adopted by the working class, or because it's the longest and clearest that anyone would make such a claim, because, in all those aspects, Capital cannot by objective measure be posited to be as such. Capital is not a b ...more
Graham Latham
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Chelsea Szendi
May 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Fug o' Slavia
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"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
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: E V E R Y O N E
Marxism is one of those things where you think you know what it's all about as long as you read the Sparknotes and 'get' the key terms. Marx wrote the Capital to underline that his theory and vision isn't just a bunch of words, but a living, developing dialogue with a system that thrives when its benefactors close their eyes and which meets its victims disguised as random acts of failure and violence.

Like a dog on acid, Marx bites down on the concept of 'value', which chase turns into a variegat
Sep 14, 2010 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
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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!
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The conqueror will occupy your lands and then sell your resources back to you on credit and tell you all the time it’s a good deal for you. Marx said that multiple times in this book and that’s a metaphor he used to describe the fate of the working person (labor) when at the mercy of capital.

Exploitation and alienation are features not bugs in the absence of a government for the people. The plight of the working class in Europe for the most part was pitiful and hopeless during the time of this
Karlo Mikhail
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
Oct 24, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: The Political Economy
This is the most important book for economist
Cassandra Kay Silva
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics, politics
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
Nandakishore Varma
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
you will never see 20 yards of linen or one coat the same way again
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was ok
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just re-pasting my old review, which I wrote a long time ago, coming down off mushrooms and a case of beer....

Fair warning, I'm writing this hung over.

The first time I read this, I gave the book 4 stars, knowing it was a 5 star work, but with 4 star writing. I was wrong. Oh-so wrong. Marx's writing merely reflects his dialectical and masterly way of contemplating, and few of us can dare to grow wings and fly up to such lofty heights of his genius and acumen! Read, reflect
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sean Sullivan
Dec 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing

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
Mar 01, 2009 added it
Shelves: economics
After cogitating on Marxist theory for years, I finally read the entirety of Volume One of Capital. Yay. What surprises me (and apparently a lot of people) about it is how straightforwardly economic it is, more akin to the work of Adam Smith than it is to Adorno or any of the other cultural critics that followed in Marx's wake. But what I loved most about it wasn't the statistical exegeses, valuable though they were, but the glimpses of future writing in it. Hey, there's the starting point for F ...more
Kamilla Taraeva
Ted Morgan
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like Darwin, understanding Marx in original context is probably impossible for many of us. This is fundamental Marx, the only part of Capital that Marx actually finished. This translation seems to be a preferred one.
Zachary Crabtree
Jun 11, 2007 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.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Capital deserves the re-reads you are considering giving it, all im gonna say.
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Reading Karl Marx...: Chapter 1: Values and Commodities | People and Production 6 18 Jan 12, 2020 04:03PM  
Reading Karl Marx...: Prefaces 5 16 Sep 04, 2019 06:38AM  
Reading Karl Marx...: Access and editions 3 13 Sep 02, 2019 03:33PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Create series 4 68 Aug 18, 2018 10:22AM  
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Karl Marx, Ph.D. (University of Jena, 1841) was a social scientist who was a key contributor to the development of Communist theory.

Descended from a long line of rabbis, Marx born in Prussian Rhineland. His 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 bein

Other books in the series

Capital (4 books)
  • Capital, Vol. 2: The Process of Circulation of Capital
  • Capital, Vol. 3: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole
  • Capital: Volumes One and Two

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