[Book] Understanding Marx’s Capital: A reader’s guide

Preface

Karl Marx’s Capital is an undeniable masterpiece of political economy – a work that is even more relevant today than at the time it was written, over 150 years ago. Through his writings in the three volumes of Capital, Marx revolutionised our understanding of the capitalist system, uncovering and explaining its inner processes, emergent laws, and inherent contradictions. “To reveal the economic law of motion of modern society,” Marx wrote in the preface to Capital, was “the final purpose” of his book.

Capital, however, remains a difficult book to fully understand, particularly for those who are new to Marxist ideas and its dialectical method of analysis. Like other sciences, political economy has its own terminology, which at times can add a barrier to accessing the concepts and theories contained within Marx’s magnum opus. Those who do overcome such hurdles, however, will find a veritable feast of ideas and analysis; an invaluable toolkit for making sense of modern society and the global capitalist economy.

The aim of this book is to help guide readers through the pages of volume one of Capital; to bring out the main themes and ideas contained within it; and to discuss the relevance of this great Marxist classic in terms of understanding the crisis-ridden world around us today – and, most importantly, how we can radically transform it. “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways,” Marx famously asserted. “The point, however, is to change it.”

Trap“I hope to deal the bourgeoisie a theoretical blow from which it will never recover.” – Letter by Marx to Klings, 4th October 1864