How to Understand Das Kapital

Few books are more significant than Das Kapital by Karl Marx. There are three volumes. The first volume was originally published in 1867.[citation needed]

Steps

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    Read simple versions.
    • Value, Price and Profit.
    • Wage Labour and Capital.
    • Marx's Kapital for Beginners by David N. Smith and Phil Evans.
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    Read Das Kapital by Karl Marx (1867). Break it down into its constituent parts. There are 8 parts or 33 chapters. You could read a page a day or a chapter a month or a week if you prefer.
    • Commodities and Money
    • The Transformation of Money into Capital
    • The Production of Absolute Surplus-Value
    • The Production of Relative Surplus-Value
    • The Production of Absolute and Relative Surplus-Value
    • Wages
    • The Accumulation of Capital
    • The So-Called Primitive Accumulation
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    Make notes on how you understand it.
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    Imagine the first barter value before currency existed. When humans first bartered commodities how did they decide the value? How and why and what was it based on?
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    Imagine the first price. When humans first exchanged commodities for currency who decided the first price? How and why and what was it based on?
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    Understand the "Labour Theory of Value" (LTV) and a "commodity". Ask yourself where prices, values, wages and profits come from.
    • Ask why, if exchange value is based on labour, high exchange values can exist for low labour? Because it is abstracted.
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    Consider studying The Economic Doctrines of Karl Marx (1887)[1] by Karl Kautsky.
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    Consider the rate of profit.
    • Is it always falling? Is it always falling without new markets?
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    Read books of interpretations by modern authors.
    • How to Read Marx's Capital by Louis Althusser (1969) and other works by Althusser.
    • Read Harry M. Cleaver's Reading Capital Politically (1979)[2].
    • Read the writings of Ernest Mandel (late 20th Century).
    • Read Marx's "Das Kapital": A Biography - A Book That Shook the World by Francis Wheen (2006).
    • Reclaiming Marx's Capital by Andrew Kliman.
    • Marx's Capital by Ben Fine and Alfred Saad-Filho.
    • A Companion to Marx's Capital by David Harvey.
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    Do the courses at MarxistEconomics.com (2008) and Resistance Mp3.
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    Follow NYU Professor David Harvey's blog[3] about Volume I of Capital.
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    Watch videos.
    • Brendan M Cooney's Kapitalism 101 blog.

Tips

  • It has been made into a manga comic in Japan.
  • It is available as a free audiobook at LibriVox[4].

Article Info

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