By Michael Heinrich
Alex Locascio (trans.)
The worldwide fiscal hindrance and recession that all started in 2008 had not less than one unforeseen final result: a surge in revenues of Karl Marx's Capital. even though mainstream economists and commentators as soon as pushed aside Marx's paintings as superseded and wrong, a few are begrudgingly acknowledging an research that sees capitalism as inherently risky. and naturally, there are these, like Michael Heinrich, who've noticeable the worth of Marx all alongside, and are in a different place to provide an explanation for the intricacies of Marx's thought.
Heinrich's sleek interpretation of Capital is now to be had to English-speaking readers for the 1st time. It has passed through 9 variations in Germany, is the normal paintings for Marxist research teams, and is used commonly in German universities. the writer systematically covers all 3 volumes of Capital and explains the entire uncomplicated facets of Marx's critique of capitalism in a manner that's transparent and concise. He offers historical past info at the highbrow and political milieu during which Marx labored, and appears at the most important concerns past the scope of Capital, akin to classification fight, the connection among capital and the nation, accusations of old determinism, and Marx's realizing of communism. Uniquely, Heinrich emphasizes the financial personality of Marx's paintings, as well as the normal emphasis at the hard work concept of price, this highlighting the relevance of Capital to the age of monetary explosions and implosions.
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Extra info for An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx's Capital
Every act of labor whose product (which can also be a service) is exchanged produces value. As values, the commodities are qualitatively equal; therefore the various acts of labor that produce values must have the status of qualitatively equal human labor. Carpentry does not produce value as carpentry (as carpentry, it produces a chair); rather, it produces value as human labor, whose product is exchanged with other products of human labor. So carpentry produces value precisely as labor abstracted from its concrete manifestation as carpentry.
In the case of a bread roll, one can at least pose the question (even if the answer is somewhat obvious) as to where it comes into existence—in the bakery or in the act of purchase over the sales counter. But value isn’t a thing like the bread roll, but rather a social relationship that appears as a tangible characteristic of a thing. The social relationship that is expressed in value and the magnitude of value is constituted in production and circulation, so that the “either/or” question is senseless.
Whenever Marx’s theory is spoken of, eventually the catchword dialectics (or: dialectical development, dialectical method, dialectical portrayal) pops up, and in most cases, there is no explanation of what exactly is meant by this word. Most notably in Marxist political parties, opponents in an argument frequently accuse each other of having an “undialectical conception” of whatever matter is being debated. Also today, in Marxist circles people speak of something standing in a “dialectical relationship” to another thing, which is supposed to clarify everything.