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Author Topic: Das Kapital: come on...you know you read it in like 12th grade!
enemy_of_capital
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posted 18 October 2008 11:22 AM      Profile for enemy_of_capital     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Das Kapital: come on...you know you read it in like 12th grade! I love the book and its still glaringly relevant today even to the avowedly reformist, and even the finance capitalist are reading it in this day of crisis, who here has read it and what if any of it is relevant. to start I think it was astute of Marx to point out the Labour theory of value which the Keynesian career politicos seem to have forgotten. remember that old slogan? "profit is the theft of the worker's wages!"
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George Victor
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posted 18 October 2008 01:04 PM      Profile for George Victor        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A few of us tried a "group approach" to it one summer on the banks of the Otonabee River(outside of the classroom), but got only halfway through Vol. 1.

Loved the opening lines regarding what work should look like.

Still think that the labour theory of value is the most pertinent in a world whose minerals, forests and oceans are disappearing at about the rate of asset accumulation by Homo sapiens.

But your tendency to blame Keynesians for the loss of the theory is a bit late from the gate...look to the old classics - even the saintly Veblen (and one of his students, Stephen Leacock) for an earlier avoidance of the concept. Labour was really getting restive, back then.


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enemy_of_capital
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posted 18 October 2008 01:20 PM      Profile for enemy_of_capital     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh shit, man. finish the fuckin' book believe me its long its cumbersome but its worth it. I personally have read all three volumes but I would say I've only mastered the first and much of the second. the third volume is where things get messy with much in the way of philosophy which throws one right off when one has spent the better part of a year and a half reading and analyzing 200 year old economic data and theory.
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M. Spector
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posted 18 October 2008 01:27 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Only Germans and dilettantes refer to it as "Das Kapital". The rest of us call it Capital.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 18 October 2008 01:30 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by enemy_of_capital:
I personally have read all three volumes...

"Three" volumes?

What's "Theories of Surplus Value"?

Chopped liver?


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M. Spector
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posted 18 October 2008 01:34 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by enemy_of_capital:
the third volume is where things get messy with much in the way of philosophy which throws one right off when one has spent the better part of a year and a half reading and analyzing 200 year old economic data and theory.
Hardly anybody ever reads the third volume. Yet this is the primary source of Marx's thinking on ecology, and forms much of the basis for the modern movement for ecosocialism.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
enemy_of_capital
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posted 18 October 2008 01:48 PM      Profile for enemy_of_capital     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
"Three" volumes?

What's "Theories of Surplus Value"?

Chopped liver?


I told you it was heavy but if you can hold your nose its well worth it, if not hit the library for a condensed version, a little easier on the old brain bucket.

to answer your question though it is a theory that suggests that a worker produces a mathmatical profit for the owner of a company/capitalist in a given shift/work period. This is the basis for exploitation for Marxists as we feel that this encompasses a unpaid/stolen portion of our rightful wage (100%) of the fruits of our labour. Thats it in an extreamly small and brutalized knutshell.

I agree the third volume is great but it is a hell of a mindfucker when contrasted with 1 and 2. also I point out that this may be because Engels edited this alone after Marx's all to early departure.


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M. Spector
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posted 18 October 2008 01:56 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by enemy_of_capital:
to answer your question though it is a theory that suggests that a worker produces a mathmatical profit for the owner of a company/capitalist in a given shift/work period. This is the basis for exploitation for Marxists as we feel that this encompasses a unpaid/stolen portion of our rightful wage (100%) of the fruits of our labour. Thats it in an extreamly small and brutalized knutshell.
I think you missed the point of unionist's rhetorical question, which is that there is a "Fourth" volume of Capital called Theories of Surplus Value.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
enemy_of_capital
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posted 18 October 2008 02:04 PM      Profile for enemy_of_capital     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I did miss that. wow can you tell im at work? sorry guys. that said yuck read my post...Im a friggin geek.
From: Mississauga | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 18 October 2008 02:07 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Enemy_of_capital, sorry for kidding around, I'm just a bit of a kidder by nature. I read all this stuff when I was your age, and I thought I had gone to heaven. I didn't find any of it easy, but I had this feeling that I mustn't miss a word. It was like reading Darwin or (some) Shakespeare. Maybe I'll go back after all these years and have another look. Life takes over, makes you "busy", and is very unforgiving. All of a sudden, you're old, even though you still feel young.
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Fidel
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posted 18 October 2008 02:14 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Marx's Law of Value(LoV) is a broad concept covering labour theory of value, I believe. And I think one of the most interesting aspects of it is that capitalists need to make a profit in order for there to be so-called equillibrium in capitalist markets. Marx and other economic philosophers recognized that equillibrium rarely exists in capitalist markets.

In my view, this is why a cold war was fought, not because capitalism is inherently superior to a state planned economy in general. Capitalists realize that theoretically, capitalist enterprises cannot compete with nationalised state industries if those industries are allowed to operate at cost, or even below cost as a cutthroat competitive practice. Monopoly capitalists have that advantage over smaller fish in same sector industries whereby they oftentimes sell their products at below cost in waging war against and swallowing competition whole, and resulting in the eventual elimination of same-sector market competition - the very thing that is supposed to provide advantage to consumers in a capitalism market economy.


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enemy_of_capital
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posted 18 October 2008 02:16 PM      Profile for enemy_of_capital     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
no worries. I know what your saying to man, I got a baby on the way and I work the good ol 9 to 9 (no word of a lie). seriously though Im pushing it mostly because progressives are so quick to dismiss Marx and Engels these days and they really are a treasure trove for the labour movement.
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Fidel
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posted 18 October 2008 02:24 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Marx is still covered in college and university studies of economics. At that level, people are encouraged to decide for themselves. One Canadian in particular, William Krehm, talks about the "Stalinization" of finance and economic theory in Canadian universities and federal politics since the 1980's or so.
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enemy_of_capital
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posted 18 October 2008 02:28 PM      Profile for enemy_of_capital     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thats interesting and good to hear but I still like the idea of working class people of all persuaisions reading and studying it together fo a fully unbiased understanding. That said I would take that course if money were available.
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Fidel
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posted 18 October 2008 02:31 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Check this out: http://www.economicsforeveryone.ca/
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M. Spector
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posted 18 October 2008 02:32 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Check this out: Reading Marx's Capital.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
George Victor
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posted 18 October 2008 02:35 PM      Profile for George Victor        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

seriously though Im pushing it mostly because progressives are so quick to dismiss Marx and Engels these days and they really are a treasure trove for the labour movement.


They are a treasure trove for us all, friend.


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enemy_of_capital
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posted 18 October 2008 02:37 PM      Profile for enemy_of_capital     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
honestly if you want indepth analysis I would check these out after reading the material youve all shared.

www.marxists.org (literally everything that either is marxist or thinks it is)

or

www.marxist.com

both are obvious but provide the best material unaltered and the second is a more biased Trotskyist site I belong to that practices entryism in the second international parties.


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enemy_of_capital
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posted 18 October 2008 02:47 PM      Profile for enemy_of_capital     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
sort of sort of not on topic but some relevat "news" from Germany:

Das Kapital - a best seller!
By In Defence of Marxism
Friday, 17 October 2008
Two decades after the Berlin Wall fell, Karl Marx is back in fashion in Eastern Germany. Thanks to the global crisis of capitalism, Das Kapital, has become a best-seller for the academic publisher, Karl-Dietz-Verlag. This indicates a big change in attitude as a result of the experience of the joys of "market economics".

Unemployment in the former Communist East is 14 per cent, double Western levels, and wages are significantly lower. Millions of jobs were lost after reunification. A recent survey found 52 per cent of Estern Germans believe the free market economy is "unsuitable" and 43 per cent said they wanted socialism rather than capitalism.

"Everyone thought there would never again be any demand for Das Kapital," the managing director of Karl-Dietz-Verlag, Joern Schue-trumpf said. He has sold 1,500 copies so far this year, triple the number sold in all of 2007 and a 100-fold increase since 1990. "Even bankers and managers are now reading Das Kapital to try to understand what they've been doing to us," he added.


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Michelle
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posted 18 October 2008 04:17 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by enemy_of_capital:
Das Kapital: come on...you know you read it in like 12th grade!

We did?

What the heck school did YOU go to, anyhow? We read Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler, and Shakespeare.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 18 October 2008 05:22 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I must have been about 17 when I read most (but not all) of Capital, like enemy and unionist. Nothing to do with school - "Capital study groups" were very popular on the left back then, and it was common for kids as young as 13 to get involved in the "movement" against the Vietnam War, then imperialism etc in general.

I was riveted, but probably couldn't explain much of what I was reading. Have re-read some (and indeed, passages from tome 3 due to the ecosocialist stuff), but have to confess that I haven't read the entire opus through, in any language.


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M. Spector
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posted 20 October 2008 10:21 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Free download: Marxist Economics -- A handbook of basic definitions

This 42-page handbook, published in 1998, is now available free in .pdf format.

From the Table of Contents:

1. Commodities — 5
2. Use-value — 6
3. Value — 6
4. Concrete labour and abstract labour — 6
5. Simple labour and complex labour — 8
6. Socially necessary labour — 8
7. Exchange — the form of value — general equivalent — money — the law of value — 9
8. General formula of capital — 11
9. Surplus value and exchange — 12
10. Labour-power and its value — 13
11. But what is this newly created value? — 13
12. The production of surplus-value — 14
13. Capital as a social relation — 15
14. Constant capital and variable capital — 16
15. Absolute surplus-value — relative surplus-value — extra surplus-value — 17
16. The wage — 19
17. Production and reproduction — 19
18. Simple capitalist reproduction — 20
19. Expanded capitalist reproduction — capital accumulation — 22
20. The organic composition of capital, the concentration and centralisation of capital — 23
21. Industrial reserve army — 24
22. Relative pauperisation — 25
23. Fundamental contradiction of the capitalist mode of production — 25
24. The cycle of capital — 26
25. Capital turnover — 28
26. Fixed capital and circulating capital — 28
27. Annual rate of surplus-value and methods for the acceleration of capital turnover — 30
28. Capitalist production costs and profit — 32
29. Rate of profit — 32
30. Formation of the average rate of profit and transformation of the value of the commodities into a production price — 33
31. Tendential decline in the rate of profit — 36
32. Commercial capital — banking capital — 37
33. Periodic crises of overproduction — 39


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
enemy_of_capital
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posted 20 October 2008 10:32 AM      Profile for enemy_of_capital     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is a great resource I also suggest the "People's Marx" by Karl Kautsky as a lead up to reading the first volume. Another good one I find is to read the lengthy introductions written by Marx and/or (depending on edition) Engels before diving into the meat.
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scott
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posted 20 October 2008 02:12 PM      Profile for scott   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by enemy_of_capital:
I still like the idea of working class people of all persuaisions reading and studying it together fo a fully unbiased understanding.

I agree. The material is pretty dense so prior reading then discussion is definitely called for. My group didn't get much past the first half of Volume 1 (a common stumbling block apparently). My recommendation - go easy on the wine. Ms. scott and I used to have "I married a monster from a Marxist study group" buttons.

[ 20 October 2008: Message edited by: scott ]


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Jacob Richter
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posted 20 October 2008 09:46 PM      Profile for Jacob Richter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Most people can't get past Volume I. Even if I haven't read Das Kapital in its entirety, I have read key parts to deem Volumes II and III to be more interesting than Volume I.

A better substitute for Volume I would be The Economic Doctrines of Karl Marx by Karl Kautsky.

Nevertheless, in Das Kapital CLASS is defined NOT by relation to MOP (contrary to the common perception), but to surplus value.

[ 20 October 2008: Message edited by: Jacob Richter ]


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Erik Redburn
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posted 20 October 2008 10:26 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by George Victor:

But your tendency to blame Keynesians for the loss of the theory is a bit late from the gate...look to the old classics - even the saintly Veblen (and one of his students, Stephen Leacock) for an earlier avoidance of the concept. Labour was really getting restive, back then.

Keynes' was probably wrong re economic growth, but his singular success permanently demonstrated that Marx was even further off the mark. Nothing happening now can reverse that.


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janfromthebruce
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posted 21 October 2008 08:52 PM      Profile for janfromthebruce     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:

We did?

What the heck school did YOU go to, anyhow? We read Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler, and Shakespeare.


I don't remember the books I read. I'm sure I read some. My mom was an ex-teacher, I'm sure she was disappointed, so for every Christmas she gave me a book. I eventually started to read them. Classics of the time.


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Jacob Richter
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posted 21 October 2008 10:31 PM      Profile for Jacob Richter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Erik Redburn:

Keynes' was probably wrong re economic growth, but his singular success permanently demonstrated that Marx was even further off the mark. Nothing happening now can reverse that.


Keynes wasn't really successful with his economic theory. It was reliant on dominant powers exploiting the underdeveloped world and, in its pure form, was best suited for Nazi Germany.

Besides, all this current crisis, inexplicable by the Big Media except when resorting to "banker greed," can ONLY be explained at a structural level from a "Marxian" viewpoint (overaccumulation of capital, falling rates of profit, and especially the transformation of this capitalist crisis into the impending conflict between capitalist states resulting from bank nationalizations).

[ 21 October 2008: Message edited by: Jacob Richter ]


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Left Turn
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posted 22 October 2008 02:31 AM      Profile for Left Turn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory

Vancouver Socialist Forum is holding a series of three educational discussions, each of which will cover one of the three chapters of this work. I would recommend this work as an excellent introductory text on Marxist economics.


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M. Spector
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posted 22 October 2008 01:07 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
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