Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Capital Volume II Now Available

My modern translation of Volume II Marx's Capital is now available.  The book comes with an Introduction covering the role that Volume II plays within Marx's overall project.  As its says,

"Volume II of Marx's Capital is probably the least read of the three volumes. It is less “sexy” than Volume I or Volume III...

Volume II is the engine room of Marx's Capital. Not only does it provide a bridge between Volume I and Volume III, in that it starts from an analysis of the circulation of capital at the level of “many capitals”, and arrives at an analysis of the circulation of the total social capital, via the exchange between Department I and II, but in doing so, it also sets out the dynamic mechanism by which the production of capital at an individual level is transformed into a production and realisation of profit at a systemic level, along with all of the contradictions, and potential breakdowns that such a process necessitates."

It is impossible to understand Marx and Engels' Theories of Crisis without reading and understanding Capital Volume II.  In setting out his Theory of Crises, in Theories of Surplus Value, Chapter 17, Marx sets out the four causes of crisis that arise with commodity production and exchange.  Firstly,  at the heart of the commodity itself is the contradiction between use value and exchange value. Secondly, production and consumption is separated.  Thirdly, money acts as a means of circulation, and unit of account, but also acts as a means of payment. Fourthly, there is the disproportion that arises in the production of fixed as opposed to circulating capital.

But, in Capital II, Marx sets out how these potential causes of crises under all forms of commodity production and exchange, manifest themselves as inevitable crises under specifically capitalist commodity production and exchange. It is impossible to properly understand this without fully understanding the process of the circulation of capital, money and commodities, the metamorphosis of capital from productive-capital to commodity-capital to money-capital, and back to productive-capital that Marx sets out in detail in Volume II.

The modern translation of Volume III of Marx's Capital will appear next year.

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