SECTION THREE - What is capitalism?
In the previous section, we laid out the materialist conception of history. Engels stated that alongside this new understanding of history, the other great discovery modern, scientific socialism was based on was Marx’s ‘demonstration how, within present society and under the existing capitalist mode of production, the exploitation of the worker by the capitalist takes place.’ Beginning with an analysis of the simple commodity, Marx was able to lay bare the contradictions at the heart of an economic system which restricted production to the narrow limits of profit making rather than the needs of society. The theory of surplus value for the first time showed how ‘accumulation of wealth at one pole is…at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality [and] mental degradation at the opposite pole.’
Marxism arms us with a method of seeing beyond the surface phenomena of bourgeois society, those focused on today by the media, economic ‘experts’ and politicians, to the fundamental, yet hidden, social processes and relationships of exploitation. And in doing so, Marxism shows how capitalism sows the seeds of it own destruction.
Primary Reading: 150 Years of Capital by Steve Palmer
- ‘Marx’s critique of political economy’
- ‘The bloody origins of capitalism’
- The Communist Manifesto – Marx and Engels – (BOOK)
- Value, price and profit – Marx
- Review of Capital Volume 1 – Engels
- ‘The state and the capitalist crisis’ – David Yaffe
- ‘Value & Price in Marx's Capital’ - Revolutionary Communist No. 1 (Second Edition) May 1976 – David Yaffe
- ‘The Marxian theory of crisis, capital and the state’ – David Yaffe -
- ‘Inflation, the Crisis and the Post-War Boom’ Revolutionary Communist No. 3/4 (Second Edition) Nov 1979 – David Yaffe and Paul Bullock