A Capital Midweek Review


As I begin this Wednesday, I find myself at the beginning of Chapter 15:  Machinery and Large-Scale Industry in Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume I.  It is the final chapter of Part IV entitled “The Production of Relative Surplus-Value.”

I have found the chapters to be of great interest, especially Chapter 13 – Cooperation.  While I definitely understood the concept of cooperation, in a work sense, I found this chapter so fascinating with additional information on how cooperation works and how it benefits the capitalist in his exploitation of the worker to create surplus-value.

This part of Capital, I feel, has been good reading because it is light on mathematical theory, I’m, of course, expecting more of that in the remaining parts of the book.

Chapter 15 is one of the chapters, along with Chapter 10 on the working day, that I have been looking forward to.  I definitely want to see Marx’s viewpoint on how the development of machinery and other large-scale industries has affected the worker, and how it is used, ultimately, to generate surplus-value, which is, after all, what a capitalist is striving for, surplus-value, profit.

Chapter 15 is by far the longest chapter of the book.  It checks in at around 140 pages.  I’m hoping to find little redundancy in this chapter, or else I will be sorely disappointed with this chapter.  As I reach this chapter, I realize I’m getting so much closer to reaching the half-way point in my Marx Reading Challenge.  I’m also so grateful that I found a companion book to read along with it that has helped me along the way.  I, of course, highly recommend David Harvey’s A Companion To Marx’s Capital as a roadmap in your journey if you decide to read Capital.  I will have more to say about this invaluable book as I reach the end of my journey with Capital, Volume I.

At this point in the book, I’m feeling quite comfortable with the material, and I’m settling in at a real good pace.  I have a really good feel for Marx’s writing style, and am able to understand the concepts better as I move forward in my reading.  Mind you, I still find the reading to be difficult, but I suppose I have begun to adapt to the style where it isn’t as intimidating anymore.  That mindset has assisted me with becoming more comfortable.

Capital has been a very challenging read for me so far.  It has definitely expanded my knowledge, and has gotten me to think about concepts that I haven’t thought of before.  Capital has also gotten me to ask different questions about capitalism as well, things I was oblivious too just a short month and some change to go.  I’m still a capitalist at heart, but this book has helped me understand it better, which, I believe is a good thing, especially given that I’m almost about half-way through with the first volume.

I’m looking forward to continuing at this pace, and I’m pleased with my progress and with how much I’m learning from this book.  I couldn’t have asked for anything better.  If you’ve read Capital or any other work that has gotten you to really think, I’d love to hear from you!

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About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

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