Saturday, 24 December 2016

Theories of Surplus Value Part I - Preface

Marx's Capital and Theories of Surplus Value were originally intended, by him, just as parts of his overall economic analysis, as set out in the Grundrisse. In the course of writing this material, and undertaking his analysis, Marx was led to seriously reconfigure that presentation.

His original intention was to include the material contained in Theories of Surplus Value as an historical excursus, as part of his analysis of capital. The manuscripts containing the material contained in Theories of Surplus Value, were written alongside the manuscripts containing the theoretical analysis contained in Capital.

But, Marx found that, in order to adequately deal with the ideas of bourgeois economists that comprised the historical development of political-economy, he must necessarily confront those ideas with those that flowed from his own newly developed theory. Rather than Theories of Surplus Value, therefore, taking the form merely of historical elaboration of the ideas and theories developed in Capital, it soon became necessary to consider it as a separate fourth volume of Capital.

Engels, right up to his death had intended to publish Theories of Surplus Value, but did not live to achieve that aim. The volume was first published by Kautsky in 1905-10, but is widely regarded as deficient in many ways. My interpretation of Marx's work, here, is based on the 1969 Lawrence and Wishart Edition, and all page references here refer to that source.

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