Talk:Capital: Critique of Political Economy

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question for Marx scholars[edit]

(question asked on Wikipedia:Reference desk by (02:07, 20 Mar 2004))

would appreciate help to track down a comment Marx made in Capital where he said there comes a point beyond which the further politizisation of money becomes redundant. could really use this for an essay, but need to be able to reference it. can you pin-point it in Capital?

Das Kapital or Capital?[edit]

I was surprised to find that this wasn't at 'Capital'. Everyone I've ever heard refer to it has called it simply Capital. The German title seems very odd. Mattley

Marx entitled his work Das Kapital, and thus it seems fitting that it is labeled under the same title. Das Kapital is the title I hear it referred to as. Shandolad 13:44, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Well, yes... Most of his other works were given German titles too. They were written in German. But we don't have articles called Bearbeiten von Kritik der politischen Ökonomie, Thesen über Feuerbach or Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei. Those are always referred to by their translated, English, titles. Conversely, the Grundrisse is only ever known by its original German title. In the case of Capital, usage is mixed. The English title is overwhelmingly preferred by Marx scholars, communists, academics etc. Whether this equates to "common usage" is debateable however, as Das Kapital is in widespread popular usage. IMO, it would be far preferable in this instance to plump for the title which is immediately and unambiguously intelligible to English-speaking users of the English language Wikipedia. This might add to the burden on the capital disambig page though, and I'm not going to push for it.Mattley 16:34, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

jesus christ, i will just add Capital in quotation. is that ok?-- the hammerspake

Yes the article on "my struggle" is also missing. ha ha "Das Kapital" is clearly the right title to use. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:33, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

  • It is very well known in English under both titles. Personally I think Das Kapital is a better title here, because 1. it is not hard to distinguish from the English title (it is pretty transparent), and 2. we already have an article on capital, the economic concept, and so this one would acquire the inelegant title of "Capital (book)". I prefer the German over that, personally. --Fastfission 03:49, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
I have never heard it caled anything but Das Kapital and I'm English.GordyB 22:29, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

The issue of which name is more widely used should be resolved based on published sources, with the English-language version as the default. See WP:UE. The most obvious set of published sources to rely on are the published English-language editions of the book, the overwhelming majority of which are titled "Capital" (based on an Amazon search of both versions). I vote "Capital."

This last edit was made by an anonymous editor. He (or she?) does not only vote for "Capital" (to mho on fairly mistaken grounds), but s/he also changed all the names in the article. I think that is one bridge too far, or am I wrong? - Dick Bos (talk) 07:15, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
The text of the article, before my edits, alternated between both renderings. I made it consistent throughout, but I didn't change the title of the article. In any case, what are my mistaken grounds? The majority of publishers who have chosen to invest in publishing this work in the English language call it "Capital." If you are assigned a reading from it in a class, it will almost certainly be called "Capital" on your syllabus. The Wikipedia articles devoted to the three volumes are call called "Capital." The Wikipedia policy is "use English," unless there is enough verifiable evidence to overcome that presumption. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:09, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

The title is internationally known as Das Kapital. In the Jun 29, 2009, issue, Newsweek published a meta-list of the top 100 books. This book, with the title as Das Kapital, is number 30. ( A BBC article from October 20, 2008 also refers to this book as Das Kapital ( DUden (talk) 03:31, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Lack of consistency. There also is a separate Wikipedia entry for Capital, Volume I, the English translation title of this same book, which is the title shown in the Works section of the Karl Marx Wikipedia entry. Recommend merging Das Kapital entry and Capital Vol 1 entry into a single item. DUden (talk) 03:31, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

The BBC article above is about a German publisher selling the book in German, to Germans, in Germany, so is a pretty irrelevant source to resolving this debate. I don't really see how a Newsweek article trumps publishers, scholars, etc. The comment from 19:09 21 March 2009 above makes good arguments in favour of 'Capital'. (talk) 17:22, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

I'd like to re-open this discussion about the name of the Wikipedia article. I think it's silly to keep use the German name. Here are some considerations for changing the title of this article: (i) English language scholars of Marx, or of political philosophy or economics in general, invariably use Capital, not Das Kapital. (ii) Major English language editions of the text are titled Capital. (iii) Likewise, Capital, not Das Kapital, appears on a Google Scholar search for "Karl Marx." (iv) Other non-English, non-German versions of Wikipedia translate Das Kapital into their target language. Keeping the German title in the English wiki contributes to the pretentious mystification of Marx, and it's not well-supported by common practice everywhere else.2601:B:C580:2D9:CAF7:33FF:FE77:D800 (talk) 17:25, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

I vote for Das Kapital for the same reason I would vote for Mein Kampf. The fact that over time some publishers have "watered down" the title to an English translation for a college audience doesn't really change things that much at all. In fact, I would reject an English publication of the book using Capital and instead buy an English version that had the more correct title of Das Kapital, if that choice presented itself. Chesspride (talk) 20:53, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

How is translating a title along with the rest of the text watering it down? I don't see why retaining the German title is more correct. We wouldn't think that a translation that keeps all of the technical terms in German is more correct--it would just be irritating and harder to use. And it's not as if the academic convention of referring to the book by its translated title is limited to publications intended for undergraduates. English language scholars writing scholarship for other scholars us "Capital" and not "Das Kapital" as well. As far as I'm aware, that's the standard for non-German writers everywhere. (talk) 17:45, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Written in Germany?[edit]

Das Kapital ("Capital") is a very large treatise of political economy written by Karl Marx in Germany. - I think, that this is not true. First publishing was in Germany, but Marx had written it in England. I´m not sure, but Encarta and few other sites say this. So what do you think?--jilm 19:25, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Good spotting. The sentence originally said in German. It was changed to in Germany by an anonymous user here [1]. It's definitely wrong.Mattley 11:35, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

Lack of Critique[edit]

I've spent the last 20 hours reading Wikipedia articles and have noticed that all mature articles on publications and authors include a section on literary or political critique, usually both. Why is this controversial work missing that? It makes me wonder if the much made of IPOV standard is a case of the lady protesting too much.

It's because internet wanna-be intellectuals and hippie college students are drawn to popular representations of Marx, including both pop art such as the ubiquitous Che and the misconception that he represents kindness vs evil capitalism. Sadly most people who profess the religion of Marx have either not read his writing or not understood the pathetically flawed arguments behind it because his horribly contorted writing style is very confusing. You will find a pervasive POV bias in favor of Marxism in many wikipedia articles. Likewise anti-Americanism, which shares similar popularity among the uneducated and uninterested.
No, it is a case of starting from faulty premisses. It is not the case that "all mature articles on publications and authors include a section on literary or political critique, usually both." There is no requirement to have such a section to comply with NPOV and it is often a sign of bad editing where such sections exist - such critiques are often added in an attempt to further a particular POV and turn articles into debates, which is emphatically not the purpose of an encyclopedia. By the way, new comments are added to the bottom of talk pages, not to the top. Mattley (Chattley) 19:30, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
This is a view unbecoming of any Wikipedia editor. The specific purpose of any encyclopedia is to bring extensive amounts of correct information about a subject, as long as that information is directly relevant to the subject being covered. An encylopedia in not at all about merely presenting a short and to the point introduction on a given subject. If anything, the logic you present in your former post relates exclusively to the opening section of this article and nothing else. The book of 'Das Kapital' has had a considerable impact on the world in several ways over the last century, and as a result there has been a substantial amount of response to it over time. Your statement about the adding of critiques supposedly turning an article into a so-called 'debate' is dubious if not incorrect, as well. If a subject has been intensely debated then there obviously has been cause for this debate to have been provoked in the first place, and as such that debate has simply become a part of the context of the subject over time. An encyclopedic article which covers a subject, known throughout the world to be controversial and heavily debated, without even merely mentioning the nature of that controversy and the causes and origins of that debate is simply incomplete and 'stubbed'. Which in turn makes its position as an 'encyclopedic' article uncertain alltogether. -- 14:52, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Addendum: One thing that I will agree with, however, is that a section dedicated to the responses to the work in general will be preferable. Thus, the positive responses should, obviously, make mention of the various political schools of thought that were born from it while providing relative links both internal and external, whilst the more negative reactions which form the other half of the work its legacy are obviously to be given the same treatment. -- 15:20, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, two points here: first, he is right, its not really necesary to place a criticism sectio in every little article, as it is very subjective on users rather than in a real effort of knoledge. Secondly, if anyone finds a real critique abotu Das Kapital, then place it. And on the user that went "hippies and liberals like it but didnt even read it", shame on you man, cos you havent read it either and talk about it like you have (how hipocrit).

I am a latin american scholar (an archaeologist) and marxist, and a i have read Das Kapital, and many other works written by Marx and Engels (and by other marxist thinkers, like Gordon Childe or Eric Wolf). Also, i've read works from many others schools of social theory (e.g. cybernetics, functionalism, neovoltionism, cultural materialism, structuralism, post-structuralism, post-modernism, positivism, etc.) At present, i'm sure that Das Kapital is among the most clearly written books that social sciences have to offer, and one whose influence will be present among scientists for a long time. Most of the criticism against marxist theory are biased or merely ideological. For example, the whole idea of a relationship between the development of productive forces and the structure of the relations of productions can be seriously advocated on the basis of the archaeological and the ethnographical records (have you ever taken note of the similarities between marxism, systems theory and neovolutionism?). The same is valid about the annalysis of the process of primitive accumulation, since that process have repeated itself in every national transition between precapitalist and capitalist modes of production. Even the laboer-value and the sur-plus value concepts can be defended on the basis that both have been used succesfuly by many researchers. About the ethical implications of marxist theory, it is true that they have been used to justify totalitarian goverments (as much as Plato, Nietzche. Aristotle have been used to justify slavery of african people, the enlightment to justify colonialism and the Terror, and christianism to justify racism, colonialism, etc.), but that was a perversion of the ideas advocated by MArx in the Communist Manifesto (not in Das _Kapital). Besides, Capitalism has its good share of totalitarian (ups, "authoritarian") dictatorships, specially in south america, political persecusions and killings. Not to mention that capitalism has triumphed over Soviet Communism and the world is clearly NOT in a better shape. People in most of the third world countrys are poorer than thirty years ago (and i'm talking from a first hand experience).

Why is this considered a "harmful" book?[edit]

As far i'm concerned, this book ironically brought way more benefits to capitalism rather than the opposite.

???? It was a book that was taken way to seriously and has no benefits now. Only radical losers follow it now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sabaton10 (talkcontribs) 04:49, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Well the book had an enormous effect on the social movements of 19th and 20th Century. And it still represent most significant critique to capitalist system. Keremcantekin (talk) 00:00, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Especially Volume I. Ironically it does not speak anything of socialist system or class struggle that has been seen in it. It is just a statement of facts. Large number of critics and supposed harm comes from the fact people do not bother to read. It describes the small improvements that had been made in England and approves them - while Popper's critics says he talked only of grand revolutions and not of the gradual work on improvements. The main message was that while in England things had started to become better as the overliberal labor hiring system was clearly against than nation's interests, in other countries the economy had not developed so far to cause drastical harm, so the inequality of the two sides in labor market should be balanced with trade unions.

The harm has been seen mostly by liberals who believed in free market regulating everything - even the cases where it by it's basic principles can't do it. Some harm has also been created by the followers who thought Marx called them to fight against capitalist class, while he just depicted the economy (at leats in these books). Actually Marx said there IS a value produced by factory owners - and the modern practice shows it to be so as they are really often hired hands too.

And third harm it may have been done is in misintepreting what the former theoreticians, especially Adam Smith meant to say, especially interpreting him as talking about the same subjects, which Smith in my opinion did not do.As far as they speak of common subjects(after reading them both) I discovered NO grand differences in what they said. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Melilac (talkcontribs) 19:00, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

soviet banner[edit]

This is my first time posting a comment on Wikipedia, and frankly it might not belong here. This is in regards to the image under the communism banner; I believe it to be a derisive and inappropriate banner for articles based on this school of thought for the following reasons. First, the image of the hammer and cycle, while the banner of the (arguably) most famous Marxist nation in history, also represents, in the minds of may people, authoritarianism and oppression, thusly it becomes a negative communicative act, in that the image characterizes the whole of Marxism, as supportive of the policies of the Soviet Union (the aforementioned country). However the Soviet paradigm was drastically different from Marx’s vision, in that firstly that nation was perpetually mired in the dictatorship of the proletariat stage, never making an effort to abolish the state or indeed class. Secondly it is my contention that there are many other images which could, and should be used, (a photo of Marx?) which are not as derisive and do not encourage a, frankly, incorrect view of communism as a school of thought. Thusly because the current image represents a negative communicative act, which inherently goes against the “NPOV” ideal of Wikipedia, and since there are many images which comply with NPOV, in that they do not conjure biased thoughts/images, I believe that the image should be changed. I will also post this on the main communism page. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:22, 2 April 2007 (UTC).

You might wish to check out/add to the discussion here: [2] -- Doctormatt 20:49, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

No Volume IV[edit]

Removed statement that Kautsky's work Theory of Surplus Value is volume IV of Marx's Das Kapital, which is patently false. I see that the Kautsky article states the same thing. However it is clear that Kautsky was NOT in the same relation to Marx as Engels, so even if he did have access to notes Marx and Engels had for such a volume, it could not be considered part of the original work (unless they were published verbatim as notes). Further, as Engels notes the process of producing a publishable work from Marx's notes became increasing difficult from Volume II to III; any fragmentary notes (if any) used by Kautsky would make that his work. Lycurgus 15:42, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Apparently it's worse than that. The work linked in it's full text from appears actually to have been published before volumes I-III, doesn't mention Kautsky at all, and seems to be a sort of prequel to Kapital. Lycurgus 16:08, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Finally, this matter is the clearest substantiation of what Chomsky was referring to when he said something to the effect that "any philosophy which bears a persons name is probably <<negative judgement I don't remember>>" or the famous statement by Marx to the effect that if that was Marxism he was not a Marxist. If these collected notes had been composed by Engels as a Volume IV or by the epigones as a prolegomena to the whole work that would be fine. The assertion that it is a final and culminating volume of the work is just ... sad. (talk) 15:04, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

To my opinion the paragraph on Vol IV is far from NPOV, in the way it is formulated now. There are different opinions on the exact status of Theorien uber den Mehrwert. But there are quite a few important interpretations that consider it as a part of the bigger picture, in one way or the other. So I think the text must reflect this. I am not in the circumstances now, to write a fuller account on this, with references etc. But the statements as are given now do not reflect the fact that there are certainly different opinions. That is the reason why I deleted them. The Theorien uber den Mehrwert give an important background for delving into the Political Economy of the 19th century, and for understanding the development of Marxs thoughts on a number of issues. It is difficult reading, for sure. And it has appeared to be really difficult to point out what Marx exactly intended to do with these writings, like with his writings in Grundrisse. But the now chosen "formula" do not even try to reflect these problems. So please rewrite these sentences, to make clear that this is an opinion, and that there are other opinions as well. Dick Bos (talk) 23:02, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Full title in the lead[edit]

The lead should include the subtitle: Das Kapital: Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy). (talk) 15:44, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

External links[edit]

The first external link is rather useless. Some "articlemyriad"-site. Contents: close to nothing to my humble opinion. Dick Bos (talk) 19:43, 4 October 2008 (UTC)


In December 2008 a manga popularization of Volume I hit Japanese bookstores. The fictionalized Vol. 1 of "Das Kapital" chronicles a cheese factory run by protagonist Robin, who rebels against his father's socialist principles and becomes a slave driver after teaming up with a cold-blooded capitalist investor. But Robin struggles between his capitalist ambitions and his sense of guilt over the exploitation of his workers. Meanwhile, exploited salary-men are seen slowly coming to terms with the central analysis: that they are the sole source of capitalism's wealth.

The book is being translated into English, Korean and Chinese for its upcoming manga debut in the U.S., Asia and Europe. Comic editions of the subsequent volumes are also under way.

Kjk2.1 (talk) 02:55, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Removed per WP:TRIVIA. Information about Das Kapital would probably be important for an article on the described manga series, but information about the manga series in an article on Das Kapital can only be described as trivia in my opinion. CES (talk) 16:10, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Hah, leave it to Japan to make a cartoon out of Marxism. (talk) 11:17, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

"See also" section growing too large?[edit]

The "See also" section tends to grow into a complete list of all wikis related to Marxism. Is this a good development? - Dick Bos (talk) 20:08, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

No citations at all??[edit]

The whole Themes section makes some very bold assertions yet there is not a single citation in it. Seems to me that it constitutes original research regardless of whether the assertions are true or not. --Mizst (talk) 21:51, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree, and it is a travesty that since June 29, 2009, this has not been fixed. --Areed44 (talk) 13:48, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Remove tag?[edit]

Someone has put a tag on top of this page in June 2009. This contributor has not been contributing anything to Wikipedia since Nov. 2009, so I don't think we can expect much of him (perhaps he's working on a major update of this article in silence). But nonetheless, I think he is right. See also his remarks above. Would it be a good idea to find a way to get this article up to the standards? If some contributors are interested, we might together find a couple of (secundary) sources of good quality, that can be used for this, and create a structure to use them. It is a bit of a shame that such an important work in the history of political economy is covered so poorly. Dick Bos (talk) 09:27, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

As of currently, there is still no real citation pertaining to the substance of the article, so the tag should not be removed. It is difficult to fix the original article because the style of writing is not encyclopedic, but it is difficult and risky to rewrite the entire article, hence nobody has done anything (the Themes section). We should find a reputable and concise article (instead of a textbook excerpt which is likely where the current writing originated) that describes the essence and significance of Das Kapital and attribute/cite them, replacing the entire Themes section with it. I believe students of philosophy or economics (or their professors) are good candidates for doing this. --Mizst (talk) 21:59, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Commodity fetishism[edit]

I am hoping that people who watch this article might have a constructive contribution to this discussion. Market economies have probably existed for as long as written history - several thousands of years. "Capitalism" for Marx is a much more specific phenomenon and more recent. The question is, is Marx's argument about commodity fetishism aimed at any market economy, or at capitalism? I don't mean to open up a discussion here but perhaps people who understand Marx's argument well can contribute to the discussion at the CF article and perhaps check the article to make sure it is accurate and sufficiently precise. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:00, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Role of "political economy"[edit]

"Political economy" and "political economists" seem to be used with a lack of precision in this article, starting in the lead. Perhaps a section on the role of Capital as immanent critique (cf. Postone, among others) would be useful here to fill out the relationship between Marx's project and that of the political economists. Ideally, we'd also have a section touching on the relationship of Capital to the Grundrisse. Capital is a critique of capitalism, but also of the political economists' method (i.e. that of Say, Ricardo, Smith, Malthus, etc.). The way the article is now, it seems as though capitalism and political economy were to be taken as synonymous, and misses a lot of the more prominent interpretations of the philosophical, critical, scientific, or economic significance of Capital (such as those found in the further reading section). Sindinero (talk) 03:06, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

      • Yes, capitalism and political economy are quite different -- there can be many types of political economy. A political economy (term) simply denotes the various laws and constructs that a government uses to divide up or share the production of the nation with its people. One type of political economy might be to say that the entire production of the nation is to be shared equally with the people -- everyone gets the exact same share. Or this sharing could be limited to particular types of production -- e.g. everyone in Alaska gets a share of the profits from oil production in the state. Another might be to have laws that enforce private property and private contracts and that tend to protect owners of capital. That form is the form that basically protects capitalists -- owners of capital -- against political action by workers. Political economies can be pro-capital or pro-worker in varying degrees, that's my reading of the term. Chesspride (talk) 21:14, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

Introduction to review history/impact of Das Kapital.[edit]

Obviously, this is very relevant at the current time. I was expecting to see more about the history/impact of Das Kapital, and also something about the USSR, China and Communism. I'll re-write a little, but I don't know which links to put in. It basically caused the Cold War. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Voyonatu (talkcontribs) 01:01, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Citations needed in the "themes" section[edit]

I am new to editing wikipedia, but there are some huge claims made in the "Themes" area that I have spoken to multiple professors about that are not entirely attributed or found in Marx's work. Can we please find citations for each of the bullet points listed in themes? --Areed44 (talk) 13:49, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

May you be specific? -- ClaudioSantos¿? 01:51, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
       "Because societal economic formation is a historical process, no one person could control or direct it, thereby creating a global complex of social connections among capitalists;" for instance, has no citation. Where in Das Kapital is this?

--Areed44 (talk) 21:44, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Marx 'began the reverse order'[edit]

Surprised there is no mention of Marx's letter of November 3, 1877 to Siemund Schott:

"In fact I myself began Capital, precisely in the reverse order (beginning with the third historical part [i.e., Theories of Surplus Value]) from that in which it is presented to the public, with the qualification, however, that the first volume, which was the last to be taken in hand, was prepared for the press straightaway while the two others still remained in the raw form that every inquiry originally assumes"

Note: "here the historical part i.e., Theories of Surplus value is called the third because Marx intended to issue the second and third books of Capital in one volume, as Volume II and the fourth book, 'History of the Theory' as the third volume"

Quotes are directly taken from the Preface to Marx's Theories of Surplus Value. Part I. 1969. Progress Publishers, p.17. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:58, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Revival of interest after Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century[edit]

I remember hearing something about how Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century sparked a revival of interest in Marx's Das Kapital, what with all the comparisons being drawn between the two... I can't think of any sources to help me verify this off the top of my head though... Do any other editors remember hearing anything similar? Cooljeanius (talk) (contribs) 05:14, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Article protection????[edit]

What's going on with this article's edit protection? Icna't edit the article but there is no protection listed or discussed... (talk) 22:17, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

According to the protection log, this article has never been protected. Perhaps you encountered a transient database lock? The error message you get should explain what is going on. -- Beland (talk)

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