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In Das Kapital (Capital), the work to which he devoted the latter part of his life,Marx set out to identify the 'laws of motion' of capitalism. The capitalist system is there presented as a self-reproducing whole, governed by an underlying law, the 'law of value'…
The first volume of Das Kapital was published in 1867 at a time when the working conditions for industrial laborers were terrible and the division between the classes was growing increasingly more pronounced. It must not be forgotten that Das Kapital was a work born out of the industrial revolution.
Marx begins the first chapter of Das Kapital with a statement concerning commodities. He defines a commodity as "an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of sort or another" (125). It is interesting that Marx begins the text with a discussion and definition of a commodity and after several successive chapters, it is clear to see that the commodity is one of the main driving forces behind capitalism. The commodity itself, however, is only valued according to demand or other more ethereal conditions and thus it is a perfect item for the capitalist as it presents no fixed "price" in itself, but its value is rather determined by desire and the potential for profit. ...
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