Das Kapital

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The title is Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. The first volume comprises the First Book: "The Process of Production of Capital". It is without question the most terrible missile that has yet been hurled at the heads of the bourgeoisie.

— Karl Marx, Letter to Becker, 17 April 1867[1]

Das Kapital (English: Capital) is Karl Marx's largest published work and his posthumously completed magnum opus. The text is a thorough analysis and critique of the capitalist system and the field of political economy published in three complete volumes. While Marx did not live to publish the planned second and third parts, they were both completed from his notes and published after his death by his close collaborator Friedrich Engels.

As of 2016, Das Kapital was the most-cited work in the social sciences published before 1950.[2] It held sizable influence in the field of economics well into the 20th century and was likely a direct impetus for the development of marginal utility theory and the "neoclassical revolution" as a whole. Das Kapital spiked in sales following the 2008 financial crash[3][4] because, according to a German publisher, "those of a young academic generation [...] have come to recognise that the neoliberal promises of happiness have not proved to be true".[3] The work is noted for its difficulty both within and outside the left, in part because of its unorthodox language used to describe concepts which were ahead of their time: Marxist economist Paul Cockshott credits Volume II with "basically inventing macroeconomics",[5] and it is hailed as an early work of sociology. One author writing in the journal Nature summarized its influence:

What is extraordinary about Das Kapital is that it offers a still-unrivalled picture of the dynamism of capitalism and its transformation of societies on a global scale. It firmly embedded concepts such as commodity and capital in the lexicon. And it highlights some of the vulnerabilities of capitalism, including its unsettling disruption of states and political systems. The election of Donald Trump, the vote for Brexit and the rise of populism in Europe and elsewhere can all be understood as indirect effects of shifts in the global division of labour — the relocation of key aspects of modern production away from Europe and the United States. That has been brought about by changes in what Marx identified as the capitalist enterprise's incessant drive to expansion.[6]



Volume I

Volume II

Volume III

See also