StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

Das Kapital by Karl Marx - Essay Example

Not dowloaded yet

Extract of sample
Das Kapital by Karl Marx

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. To backtrack for a moment, however, a more concise definition of commodity is contained within the idea of "use value." This refers to a commodity's value in how it will be used and how it is desired but this value, according to Marx, has little to do with the actual labor that went into the production of the item. Again, while it is not immediately clear at this early point in the text, the use value versus the idea of labor are important issues because there is more distinction between the two than one might initially think. For instance, something might have a very high use-value and be greatly desired. This desire leads the capitalist to make it expensive and the laborer who made the desired commodity is not paid what the desired commodity is worth, but rather is paid living wages while the surplus profits go directly to the capitalist since he owns the means of production. While that was a very brief, concise, but altogether limited description of the process behind commodities and use value, it is useful background information to frame the discussion as this analysis continues.
After this introduction to commodities and use values in Das Kapital , the idea of exchange value becomes of equal importance. As Marx puts it in one of the important quotations from "Das Kapital", "As use values, commodities are, above all, of different qualities, but as exchange values they are merely different quantities, and consequently do not contain an atom of use value" (127). In other words, it is the proportion by which use values of one kind exchange for use values of another kind. This is a vital and fluctuating relationship and has less to do with the commodity than it might initially seem.
In short, the common element in a commodity's exchange-value is simply the "value" of it. This means that it all comes down to labor. This is a common tactic Marx employs, at first there a number of daunting methods for scientifically extracting a conception of value but in the end, it all boils down to questions about work and ...Show more


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'…
Author : eleanoraconroy
Das Kapital by Karl Marx essay example
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"Das Kapital by Karl Marx"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Related Essays

Karl Marx
Karl Marx Introduction: Far more than a philosopher, Karl Marx was a political leader and a revolutionary. He is the founder of modern “scientific” socialism, a view which presents the idea that in society no property should be held privately. Karl Hienrich Marx was born in Trier, Rhenish Prussia (modern day Germany) on May 5th 1818.
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Malthus vs Marx
Notable scholars such as Karl Marx, Thomas Malthus, and Adam Smith among others are known mostly for stirring these debates through their perspectives and arguments. This essay will focus on Malthus, Marx, and their perspective on capitalism. For instance, Malthus argues that capitalism can produce general “gluts,” that is, an over production of good.
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Adam Smith and Karl Marx Economic Theories
Introduction Economic deals with study of human nature hence most theories in economic are based on the nature of humans. Adam Smith and Karl Marx are considered as the greatest economists of their time, in fact Smith is regarded as the father of modern economics (Skousen, 3).
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Karl Marx
One of the most imperative reasons behind making an investigation into the topic afore-mentioned includes the evaluation of the political ideology articulated by Marxist perspective while seeking its association with Marx’s viewpoint on historical developments man has observed since the primitive times till the Marx’s era of Industrial Revolution.
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Karl Marx's Theory
He distinguished between appearances and reality, believing that historically and socially, ideology is what has prevented people in societies from seeing the material conditions of their lives clearly. This belief has been updated and made relevant to today's society through a recent documentary filmed by Morgan Spurlock titled Super Size Me.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
PHL317:Marx and Marxism
in, a relatively unknown writer, and political agitator had pledged that he would bring about the first Marxist State at the funeral of Karl Marxs daughter and son in law in 1911. Few took him seriously although events would vindicate his confidence.1 In all his writings Karl
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
What Did Marx Mean by Alienation
Alienation does not only transform laborers to lifeless machines but also removes them from their social being. This form of alienation originates from the bitterness developed by the social class structures of a status quo. Laborers are alienated from the individuals who take advantage of their labor and manipulate the objects they produce.
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Management in Society - Karl Marx
This could be further confirmed if one cares to go through the writings of economists, historians or even novelists as Charles Dickens who were contemporaries of Karl Marx. Industrial revolution had shaken the very structure of British society and suddenly one found women
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
A comparison and contrast of the theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Their friendship withstood the test of time and when Marx died leaving his great work Das Kapital incomplete, Engels took it upon himself to
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Karl Marx
And he time and again adhered to a thorough obligation to open experiential examination of the whole story. Marx individual goals were thus certainly framed by means of his ambition to make scientific investigation of the
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Get a custom paper written
by a pro under your requirements!
Win a special DISCOUNT!
Put in your e-mail and click the button with your lucky finger
Your email
Comments (0)
Rate this paper:
Thank you! Your comment has been sent and will be posted after moderation