Karl Marx’s Capital presents his ideas on economics, the human condition, history, and how all of these impact and relate to capitalism. Marx believes capital refers to wealth, but beyond that, its ability to grow via circulation.
This analysis makes the Communist Manifesto look warm due to the cold and clinical economic application and approach Marx takes toward why capitalism is simply unsustainable, although he makes some interesting points along the way.
Marx believes capitalism functions based on two specific premises: use-value and exchange- value specific to commodities. The goal of capitalism is to increase profit, and it is the perversion of use-value and exchange-value from a traditional standpoint that sets capitalism apart. The exchange-value is relevant to the labor-power (people) used in production. Capitalism bucks tradition by looking at a product not as something that is used but something that can be sold for profit, making the commodity worth more than the workers being paid simply for producing it. Through repetition, capitalism will only become stronger by selling the commodity with little or no regard for the worker. The consideration of being little more than a commodity is stressed by Marx. His description of the worker as just a robot making a product with no ability to profit from their labor and zero control over being traded and sold by another man was a very harsh outlook on economics related to the working classes.
Marx’s take on value is also of note in Capital. Value involves the amount of work needed to create a commodity, and gives an item its price. Given the economic instability of today’s world, Marx’s ideas have come back into the spotlight, although arguably they never were too far from the thoughts of economic minds worldwide. So, while in our modern world the value relates to the price of a commodity based on how useful it is in the eyes of society, Marx argued that the value relates to the price based on the amount of work needed to produce a commodity.
Looking back on Marx’s Capital, one can’t help but point out the relevance it still holds today. The friction between owner and worker is still a polarizing element of the relationship created by capitalism. Those who are rich will stay rich, and even after a revolution succeeds behind the power of the worker; the same fate is almost impossible to escape those who created the revolution.