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Karl Marx, "Capital": summary, main idea, reader reviews
Karl Marx, "Capital": summary, main idea, reader reviews

Summary of Marx's "Capital" is important to know for everyone who studies economics and political history. This is the main work of the German scientist, which contains a critical assessment of capitalism. The work was written in 1867, it used a dialectical materialist approach, including to important social historical processes. This article will present the main ideas of this work, as well as feedback from readers.

History of Creation

Book Capital

Summary of Marx's "Capital" will be of interest to everyone who studies national history. After all, it was on this work that the policy of the Bolsheviks was built, who built communism in the country for most of the 20th century.

The first volume of this work, titled The Process of Production of Capital, was published in 1867. The circulation was relatively large for those times - about one thousand copies. In fact, it became a continuation of the work"Toward a Critique of Political Economy", which was published eight years earlier.

Already after the death of Karl Marx, his colleague Friedrich Engels assembled the next two volumes from drafts and finished fragments. In 1885, The Process of Circulation of Capital was published, and in 1894, The Process of Capitalist Production, Taken as a Whole.

Only death in 1895 prevented him from preparing for publication the final fourth volume, which was to be called Theories of Surplus Value. As a result, it was released only by 1910 by Karl Kautsky.

Anarchist Mikhail Bakunin first tried to translate the book into Russian. However, he did not manage to overcome a large number of complex economic terms. The next attempt was made by German Lopatin, a member of the First International, but was forced to interrupt work, taking part in an unsuccessful action to release Chernyshevsky from prison. The populist and publicist Nikolai Danielson graduated from the work they had begun. The book was first published in Russian in 1872. Its circulation was three thousand copies.

Short description

Karl Marx

Before we find out the summary of Marx's "Capital" by volumes, we note that this is a work that describes the economic foundations of the life of a capitalist society. The author reveals in detail the key laws and concepts by which it exists. The work originally consisted of three volumes, each of which revealed one topic in the most detail - the essence of capital,features of its formation and role in public life and economy. A summary of the chapters of "Capital" by Karl Marx gives the most detailed and comprehensive picture of this work.

The work of Marx is based on the principle based on the concept of surplus value and goods, the idea of ​​the subsequent cycle of accumulated money. The questions of the division of the acquired surplus value between the working class and the capitalists, the relationship between classes are also touched upon. Marx noted that the conflict existing in society was the result of injustice in this distribution. As a result, it becomes one of the main factors that provoke progress.

What is the work about?

Karl Marx Capital

A summary of the chapters of Marx's "Capital" will allow you to quickly recall the main provisions of this work before an exam or test. The author begins by considering capitalist society as a mass of commodities, each of which has its own use value. This price is set by the owner. In addition, we can talk about the exchange value, determined by the market in which this commodity is circulating. This cost type is based on the costs used to produce the item.

Summary of the book "Capital" by Karl Marx allows you to get acquainted with the main ideas set forth by the author in a short time. In an economic treatise, he notes that each product has a certain owner, who must be recognized by the rest.the owners of its owner. Proof that a commodity is a commodity can be obtained in the process of its exchange. Each is assigned a monetary equivalent.

Goods - money - goods

Ultimately the formula looks like this. In fact, this means that the cost of the sold goods is comparable to the cost of the purchased, provided that the exchange takes place on equivalent terms.

However, the existing equivalence does not at all mean an equilibrium between sale and purchase, but only that the price that was assigned to one of the goods correlates with the other goods in terms of exchange value. In this situation, money plays the role of a kind of intermediary.

The role of the worker in this process

Summary of the book Capital

Telling a summary of Marx's "Capital", one should pay special attention to the concept of labor power, which is also a commodity in its essence, having a certain value. The owner of a certain commodity hires workers for its production, including their wages in the exchange value of the product itself. As a result, surplus value is added due to the difference between the value of the declared labor force and the proceeds from the exchange of goods.

In this situation, we need to talk about the product of underpaid labor from workers. In such a situation, the owner, receiving specific money, reduces the cost of labor as much as possible in order to assign the difference specifically to himself. This causes a situation in which signs of exploitation are evident.working class. Marx comes to these conclusions on the basis that the owner buys labor power at a cost that, as a result, turns out to be significantly lower than the value of the commodity itself. Thus, the surplus value obtained by him is directed to increasing production capacities or hiring new labor.

What is capital?

Summary of Capital

Marx pays considerable attention to this issue in his work. In the summary of "Capital" it also needs to be carefully analyzed. According to the German economist, capital is money that brings surplus value. At the same time, the turnover of capital over time has a direct impact on the creation of surplus value.

As a cycle, the circulation includes production, turning into a commodity form and the sale of specific products, and then it is transformed into a specific monetary form. This is the basis of the existing idea of ​​industrial capital, which circulates in the market for the exchange of goods. The turnover of capital, which takes place over at least one year, brings a significant increase in surplus value, especially if we draw analogies with a one-time exchange transaction.

Surplus Value

On the basis of this concept, not only profit is formed, but also interest and rent. As a result, due to the existence of underpaid labor, the owner of the goods makes certain payments. Its ultimate goal is to reduce the cost of labor so that enrichment is maximized. In such a situation, one shouldtake into account that the minimum level of wages for workers provokes a decrease in their standard of living. Because of this, a decrease in demand for this product is formed.

In this situation, the worker is unable to purchase a specific product being created. This factor leads to a crisis that affects the economic conditions of society as a whole, since a decrease in demand for a particular product leads to the cessation of the production of goods when the demand for it is too low. If there is an increase in surplus value, then this also limits the demand for a particular product, leads to a decrease in final profit and a reduction in labor force.

Speculation and mediation

Criticism of Marx

It is these two concepts that come to the fore in this situation. The summary of Marx's "Capital" gives you an overview of the conclusions that the scientist makes. The German economist comes to the conclusion that the main tool in these conditions is credit. The interest on loans is paid on the basis of the surplus value. In such circumstances, the opposite situation is likely, in which prices begin to decline and markets overflow. This greatly complicates the process of exchanging goods, as well as the return of amounts borrowed in this way. It ends with financial crises and bankruptcy.

As a result, there is a conflict between workers and specific owners. The owner strives to get the maximum benefit, and the worker - a salary that will be as high as possible or at least equivalentthe contribution he made. At the same time, he has official claims to the goods he has produced as the object of his labor.

Basis for revolution

This dispute is relevant almost always, and at some points in the development of society leads to the brewing of a revolutionary situation. As a result of such a revolution, the working class can achieve an increase in the value of its own strength. Marx emphasized that such a conflict is considered the engine of socio-economic relations throughout the world. The author believed that, ideally, it should lead to changes in the state system, which will benefit the whole society. This was Marx's theory of capital.

Some emphasize that the work of the German economist is still relevant today, as it remains a universal textbook for economists. It details the principles of capital turnover and its formation.

Negative ratings

Reviews of the book Capital

Modern experts ambiguously evaluate the work of the German economist. Critics of Marx's "Capital" note that he is practically incapable of convincing anyone of his justice. Immediately after the release of the third volume, the author was criticized that the ideas presented in it diverged from the thoughts that can be found in the very first volume.

In today's society, skepticism towards "Capital" has intensified after the ideas outlined in it did not lead to the construction of a workable economy in the USSR.


In reviews of Marx's "Capital" modern readers most oftencriticize the works of the German economist and philosopher. A large number of errors and inaccuracies are found in his reasoning and statements.

At the same time, they have to admit that for many countries, including ours, "Capital" has become a defining work in building statehood. The ideas set forth in it became the basis for the ideological struggle, which in many ways shaped the world in which we all exist today.

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