Год выпуска: 1995
Автор: Karl Marx
Жанр: Экономика, политика
Издательство: Progress Publishers
Качество: eBook (изначально компьютерное)
Количество страниц: 608
German by Karl Marx and edited in part by Friedrich Engels. The book is a critical analysis of capitalism. Its first volume was published in 1867.
The central driving force of capitalism, according to Marx, was in the exploitation and alienation of labour. The ultimate source of capitalist profits and surplus was the unpaid labor of wage laborers. Employers could appropriate the new output value because of their ownership of the productive capital assets-protected by the state. By producing output as capital for the employers, the workers constantly reproduced the condition of capitalism by their labor.
However, though Marx is very concerned with the social aspects of commerce, his book is not an ethical treatise, but an attempt to explain the objective "laws of motion" of the capitalist system as a whole, its origins and future. He aims to reveal the causes and dynamics of the accumulation of capital, the growth of wage labor, the transformation of the workplace, the concentration of capital, competition, the banking and credit system, the tendency of the rate of profit to decline, land-rents and many other things.
Marx viewed the commodity as the "cell-form" or building unit of capitalist society-it is an object useful to somebody else, but with a trading value for the owner. Because commercial transactions implied no particular morality beyond that required to settle transactions, the growth of markets caused the economic sphere and the moral-legal sphere to become separated in society: subjective moral value becomes separated from objective economic value. Political economy, which was originally thought of as a "moral science" concerned with the just distribution of wealth, or as a "political arithmetick" for tax collection, gave way to the separate disciplines of economic science, law and ethics.
Marx believed the political economists could study the scientific laws of capitalism in an "objective" way, because the expansion of markets had in reality objectified most economic relations: the cash nexus stripped away all previous religious and political illusions (only to replace them, however, with another kind of illusion-commodity fetishism). Marx also says that he viewed "the economic formation of society as a process of natural history". The growth of commerce happened as a process which no individual could control or direct, creating an enormously complex web of social interconnections globally. Thus a "society" was formed "economically" before people actually began to consciously master the enormous productive capacity and interconnections they had created, in order to put it collectively to the best use.
Marx's analysis in Capital, then, focuses primarily on the structural contradictions, rather than the class antagonisms, that characterize capitalist society-the "contradictory movement [gegensätzliche Bewegung] [that] has its origin in the twofold character of labour," rather than in the struggle between labor and capital, i.e. between the owning and the working classes. These contradictions, moreover, operate (as Marx describes using a phrase borrowed from Hegel) "behind the backs" of both the capitalists and workers, that is, as a result of their activities, and yet irreducible to their conscious awareness either as individuals or as classes. As such, Capital, does not propose a theory of revolution (led by the working class and its representatives) but rather a theory of crises as the condition for a potential revolution, or what Marx refers to in the Communist Manifesto as a potential "weapon," "forged" by the owners of capital, "turned against the bourgeoisie itself" by the working class. Such crises, according to Marx, are rooted in the contradictory character of the commodity, the most fundamental social form of capitalist society. In capitalism, improvements in technology and rising levels of productivity increase the amount of material wealth (or use values) in society while simultaneously diminishing the economic value of this wealth, thereby lowering the rate of profit-a tendency that leads to the paradox, characteristic of crises in capitalism, of "poverty in the midst of plenty," or more precisely, crises of overproduction in the midst of underconsumption.
Скачать книгу бесплатно