Bloomington High School North Library

Bloomington High School North

Das Kapital : a critique of political economy, Volume one

Review by Nickolas Penrod on April 1, 2016

Categories: Non-fiction

Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” is considered by many to be one of the most influential political books of all time, detailing and criticizing the core fundamental principles of Capitalism and how it separates and alienates humankind from their labor and from themselves. While to many today the core principles of Marxist philosophy and analysis are misconstrued and poorly represented, Das Kapital provides a great insight into Karl Marx’s actual beliefs.

Das Kapital serves to critique the core aspects of Capitalist society while simultaneously building the theory of Marxist philosophy and analysis. To do this, Marx goes about describing and analyzing methods of trade and value, machinery and automation, Capitalist rule, worker alienation and a variety of other things. These are described very much in part to build up the theory of Marx’s “Labor Theory of Value”, which in the most basic sense is the theory that all value is derived from labor put into the product of whatever is being produced, and as such all value in society comes from the working class. While today this theory to some degree is outdated, especially with the higher prevalence of machinery and automation at the disposal of mankind, its fundamental ideas are still applicable to a degree, and extrapolation upon them can provide beneficial.

Much of the concerns and critiques of Capitalism in Das Kapital relate to worker/boss relations, otherwise known as the relations between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Much of what Marx states, from the alienation of the worker from his work, the exploitation conducted and condoned by the bourgeoisie, the value created and exploited in society and so on are all used to simultaneously critique the nature of Capitalism as well as promote equality between people rather than destitution.

This book is very intriguing in terms of its philosophical and political value, and it should be read or studied by everyone regardless of political beliefs. It delves into the ideas and values of Marxist theory as well as provides a heavy and thorough analysis of Capitalism, acting as a rebuttal to Capitalism, especially for its time, and is one of the most important books to read to understand the wide spectrum of politics as well as to begin to understand Marxist ideas.