Marx’s Das Kapital cannot be put into a box marked “economics.” It is a work of politics, history, economics, philosophy and even in places, literature (yes Marx’s style is that rich and evocative). Marx’s Das Kapital For Beginners is an introduction to the Marxist critique of capitalist production and its consequences for a whole range of social activities such as politics, media, education and religion. Das Kapital is not a critique of a particular capitalist system in a particular country at a particular time. Rather, Marx ‘s aim was to identify the essential features that define capitalism, in whatever country it develops and in whatever historical period. For this reason, Das Kapital is necessarily a fairly general, abstract analysis. As a result, it can be fairly difficult to read and comprehend. At the same time, understanding Das Kapital is crucial for mastering Marx’s insights to capitalism.
Marx’s Das Kapital For Beginners offers an accessible path through Marx’s arguments and his key questions: What is a commodity? Where does wealth come from? What is ‘value’? What happens to work under capitalism? Why is crisis part of capitalism’s DNA? And what happens to our consciousness, our very perceptions of reality and our ways of thinking and feeling under capitalism? Understanding and learning from Marx’s work has taken on a fresh urgency as questions about the sustainability of the capitalist system in today’s global economy intensify.
Michael Wayne is a Professor in Screen Media at Brunel University in London. He has written widely on Marxist cultural theory, film, television and the media.
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