The Intellectual Foundations of Political Economy
Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels
PREFACES AND AFTERWORDS
D E D I C A T E D
TO MY UNFORGETTABLE FRIEND
W i l h e l m
W o l f f
NOBLE PROTAGONIST OF THE PROLETARIAT
Born in Tarnau on June 21, 1809
Died in exile in Manchester on May 9, 1864
The work, the first volume of which I now submit to the public, forms the continuation of my Zur Kritik der Politischen Oekonomie (A Contribution to the Criticism of Political Economy) published in 1859. The long pause between the first part and the continuation is due to an illness of many years' duration that again and again interrupted my work.
The substance of that earlier work is summarised in the first three chapters of this volume. This is done not merely for the sake of connexion and completeness. The presentation of the subject-matter is improved. As far as circumstances in any way permit, many points only hinted at in the earlier book are here worked out more fully, whilst, conversely, points worked out fully there are only touched upon in this volume. The sections on the history of the theories of value and of money are now, of course, left out altogether. The reader of the earlier work will find, however, in the notes to the first chapter additional sources of reference relative to the history of those theories.
Every beginning is difficult, holds in all sciences. To understand the first chapter, especially the section that contains the analysis of commodities, will, therefore, present the greatest difficulty. That which concerns more especially the analysis of the substance of value and the magnitude of value, I have, as much as it was possible, popularised.  The value-form, whose fully developed shape is the money-form, is very elementary and simple. Nevertheless, the human mind has for more than 2,000 years sought in vain to get to the bottom of it all, whilst on the other hand, to the successful analysis of much more composite and complex forms, there has been at least an approximation. Why? Because the body, as an organic whole, is more easy of study than are the cells of that body. In the analysis of economic forms, moreover, neither microscopes nor chemical reagents are of use. The force of abstraction must replace both. But in bourgeois society, the commodity-form of the product of labour — or value-form of the commodity — is the economic cell-form. To the superficial observer, the analysis of these forms seems to turn upon minutiae. It does in fact deal with minutiae, but they are of the same order as those dealt with in microscopic anatomy.
With the exception of the section of value-form, therefore, this volume cannot stand accused on the score of difficulty. I pre-suppose, of course, a reader who is willing to learn something new and therefore to think for himself.
The physicist either observes physical phenomena where they occur in their most typical form and most free from disturbing influence, or, wherever possible, he makes experiments under conditions that assure the occurrence of the phenomenon in its normality. In this work I have to examine the capitalist mode of production, and the conditions of production and exchange corresponding to that mode. Up to the present time, their classic ground is England. That is the reason why England is used as the chief illustration in the development of my theoretical ideas. If, however, the German reader shrugs his shoulders at the condition of the English industrial and agricultural labourers, or in optimist fashion comforts himself with the thought that in Germany things are not nearly so bad; I must plainly tell him, "De te fabula narratur!"
Intrinsically, it is not a question of the higher or lower degree of development of the social antagonisms that result from the natural laws of capitalist production. It is a question of these laws themselves, of these tendencies working with iron necessity towards inevitable results. The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future.
But apart from this. Where capitalist production is fully naturalised among the Germans (for instance, in the factories proper) the condition of things is much worse than in England, because the counterpoise of the Factory Acts is wanting. In all other spheres, we, like all the rest of Continental Western Europe, suffer not only from the development of capitalist production, but also from the incompleteness of that development. Alongside the modern evils, a whole series of inherited evils oppress us, arising from the passive survival of antiquated modes of production, with their inevitable train of social and political anachronisms. We suffer not only from the living, but from the dead. Le mort saisit le vif!
The social statistics of Germany and the rest of Continental Western Europe are, in comparison with those of England, wretchedly compiled. But they raise the veil just enough to let us catch a glimpse of the Medusa head behind it. We should be appalled at the state of things at home, if, as in England, our governments and parliaments appointed periodically commissions of inquiry into economic conditions; if these commissions were armed with the same plenary powers to get at the truth; if it was possible to find for this purpose men as competent, as free from partisanship and respect of persons as are the English factory-inspectors, her medical reporters on public health, her commissioners of inquiry into the exploitation of women and children, into housing and food. Perseus wore a magic cap down over his eyes and ears as a make-believe that there are no monsters.
Let us not deceive ourselves on this. As in the 18th century, the American war of independence sounded the tocsin for the European middle-class, so that in the 19th century, the American Civil War sounded it for the European working-class. In England the process of social disintegration is palpable. When it has reached a certain point, it must react on the Continent. There it will take a form more brutal or more humane, according to the degree of development of the working-class itself. Apart from higher motives, therefore, their own most important interests dictate to the classes that are for the nonce the ruling ones, the removal of all legally removable hindrances to the free development of the working-class. For this reason, as well as others, I have given so large a space in this volume to the history, the details, and the results of English factory legislation. One nation can and should learn from others. And even when a society has got upon the right track for the discovery of the natural laws of its movement — and it is the ultimate aim of this work, to lay bare the economic law of motion of modern society — it can neither clear by bold leaps, nor remove by legal enactments, the obstacles offered by the successive phases of its normal development. But it can shorten and lessen the birth-pangs.
To prevent possible misunderstand, a word. I paint the capitalist and the landlord in no sense couleur de rose. But here individuals are dealt with only in so far as they are the personifications of economic categories, embodiments of particular class-relations and class-interests. My standpoint, from which the evolution of the economic formation of society is viewed as a process of natural history, can less than any other make the individual responsible for relations whose creature he socially remains, however much he may subjectively raise himself above them.
In the domain of Political Economy, free scientific inquiry meets not merely the same enemies as in all other domains. The peculiar nature of the materials it deals with, summons as foes into the field of battle the most violent, mean and malignant passions of the human breast, the Furies of private interest. The English Established Church, e.g., will more readily pardon an attack on 38 of its 39 articles than on 1/39 of its income. Now-a-days atheism is culpa levis, as compared with criticism of existing property relations. Nevertheless, there is an unmistakable advance. I refer, e.g., to the Blue book published within the last few weeks: "Correspondence with Her Majesty's Missions Abroad, regarding Industrial Questions and Trades' Unions". The representatives of the English Crown in foreign countries there declare in so many words that in Germany, in France,to be brief, in all the civilised states of the European Continent, radical change in the existing relations between capital and labour is as evident and inevitable as in England. At the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Mr. Wade, vice-president of the United States, declared in public meetings that, after the abolition of slavery, a radical change of the relations of capital and of property in land is next upon the order of the day. These are signs of the times, not to be hidden by purple mantles or black cassocks. They do not signify that tomorrow a miracle will happen. They show that, within the ruling-classes themselves, a foreboding is dawning, that the present society is no solid crystal, but an organism capable of change, and is constantly changing.
The second volume of this book will treat of the process of the circulation of capital (Book II.), and of the varied forms assumed by capital in the course of its development (Book III.), the third and last volume (Book IV.), the history of the theory.
Every opinion based on scientific criticism I welcome. As to prejudices of so-called public opinion, to which I have never made concessions, now as aforetime the maxim of the great Florentine is mine:
"Segui il tuo corso, e lascia dir le genti."
July 25, 1867
This is the more necessary, as even the section of Ferdinand Lassalle's work against Schulze-Delitzsch, in which he professes to give "the intellectual quintessence" of my explanations on these subjects, contains important mistakes. If Ferdinand Lassalle has borrowed almost literally from my writings, and without any acknowledgement, all the general theoretical propositions in his economic works, e.g., those on the historical character of capital, on the connexion between the conditions of production and the mode of production, &c., &c., even to the terminology created by me, this may perhaps be due to purposes of propaganda. I am here, of course, not speaking of his detailed working out and application of these propositions, with which I have nothing to do.
Transcribed by Zodiac
Html Markup by Stephen Baird (1999)
To the citizen Maurice Lachatre
I applaud your idea of publishing the translation of "Das Kapital" as a serial. In this form the book will be more accessible to the working class, a consideration which to me outweighs everything else.
That is the good side of your suggestion, but here is the reverse of the medal: the method of analysis which I have employed, and which had not previously been applied to economic subjects, makes the reading of the first chapters rather arduous, and it is to be feared that the French public, always impatient to come to a conclusion, eager to know the connexion between general principles and the immediate questions that have aroused their passions, may be disheartened because they will be unable to move on at once.
That is a disadvantage I am powerless to overcome, unless it be by forewarning and forearming those readers who zealously seek the truth. There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.
March 18, 1872
Transcribed by Hinrich Kuhls
Html Markup by Stephen Baird (1999)
I must start by informing the readers of the first edition about the alterations made in the second edition. One is struck at once by the clearer arrangement of the book. Additional notes are everywhere marked as notes to the second edition. The following are the most important points with regard to the text itself:
In Chapter I, Section 1, the derivation of value from an analysis of the equations by which every exchange-value is expressed has been carried out with greater scientific strictness; likewise the connexion between the substance of value and the determination of the magnitude of value by socially necessary labour-time, which was only alluded to in the first edition, is now expressly emphasised. Chapter I, Section 3 (the Form of Value), has been completely revised, a task which was made necessary by the double exposition in the first edition, if nothing else. — Let me remark, in passing, that that double exposition had been occasioned by my friend, Dr. L Kugelmann in Hanover. I was visiting him in the spring of 1867 when the first proof-sheets arrived from Hamburg, and he convinced me that most readers needed a supplementary, more didactic explanation of the form of value. — The last section of the first chapter, "The Fetishism of Commodities, etc.," has largely been altered. Chapter III, Section I (The Measure of Value), has been carefully revised, because in the first edition this section had been treated negligently, the reader having been referred to the explanation already given in "Zur Kritik der Politischen Oekonomie," Berlin 1859. Chapter VII, particularly Part 2 [Eng. ed., Chapter IX, Section 2], has been re-written to a great extent.
It would be a waste of time to go into all the partial textual changes, which were often purely stylistic. They occur throughout the book. Nevertheless I find now, on revising the French translation appearing in Paris, that several parts of the German original stand in need of rather thorough remoulding, other parts require rather heavy stylistic editing, and still others painstaking elimination of occasional slips. But there was no time for that. For I had been informed only in the autumn of 1871, when in the midst of other urgent work, that the book was sold out and that the printing of the second edition was to begin in January of 1872.
The appreciation which "Das Kapital" rapidly gained in wide circles of the German working-class is the best reward of my labours. Herr Mayer, a Vienna manufacturer, who in economic matters represents the bourgeois point of view, in a pamphlet published during the Franco-German War aptly expounded the idea that the great capacity for theory, which used to be considered a hereditary German possession, had almost completely disappeared amongst the so-called educated classes in Germany, but that amongst its working-class, on the contrary, that capacity was celebrating its revival.
To the present moment Political Economy, in Germany, is a foreign science. Gustav von Gulich in his "Historical description of Commerce, Industry," &c.,  especially in the two first volumes published in 1830, has examined at length the historical circumstances that prevented, in Germany, the development of the capitalist mode of production, and consequently the development, in that country, of modern bourgeois society. Thus the soil whence Political Economy springs was wanting. This "science" had to be imported from England and France as a ready-made article; its German professors remained schoolboys. The theoretical expression of a foreign reality was turned, in their hands, into a collection of dogmas, interpreted by them in terms of the petty trading world around them, and therefore misinterpreted. The feeling of scientific impotence, a feeling not wholly to be repressed, and the uneasy consciousness of having to touch a subject in reality foreign to them, was but imperfectly concealed, either under a parade of literary and historical erudition, or by an admixture of extraneous material, borrowed from the so-called "Kameral" sciences, a medley of smatterings, through whose purgatory the hopeful candidate for the German bureaucracy has to pass.
Since 1848 capitalist production has developed rapidly in Germany, and at the present time it is in the full bloom of speculation and swindling. But fate is still unpropitious to our professional economists. At the time when they were able to deal with Political Economy in a straightforward fashion, modern economic conditions did not actually exist in Germany. And as soon as these conditions did come into existence, they did so under circumstances that no longer allowed of their being really and impartially investigated within the bounds of the bourgeois horizon. In so far as Political Economy remains within that horizon, in so far, i.e., as the capitalist regime is looked upon as the absolutely final form of social production, instead of as a passing historical phase of its evolution, Political Economy can remain a science only so long as the class-struggle is latent or manifests itself only in isolated and sporadic phenomena.
Let us take England. Its Political Economy belongs to the period in which the class-struggle was as yet undeveloped. Its last great representative, Ricardo, in the end, consciously makes the antagonism of class interests, of wages and profits, of profits and rent, the starting-point of his investigations, naively taking this antagonism for a social law of Nature. But by this start the science of bourgeois economy had reached the limits beyond which it could not pass. Already in the lifetime of Ricardo, and in opposition to him, it was met by criticism, in the person of Sismondi. 
The succeeding period, from 1820 to 1830, was notable in England for scientific activity in the domain of Political Economy. It was the time as well of the vulgarising and extending of Ricardo's theory, as of the contest of that theory with the old school. Splendid tournaments were held. What was done then, is little known to the Continent generally, because the polemic is for the most part scattered through articles in reviews, occasional literature and pamphlets. The unprejudiced character of this polemic — although the theory of Ricardo already serves, in exceptional cases, as a weapon of attack upon bourgeois economy — is explained by the circumstances of the time. On the one hand, modern industry itself was only just emerging from the age of childhood, as is shown by the fact that with the crisis of 1825 it for the first time opens the periodic cycle of its modern life. On the other hand, the class-struggle between capital and labour is forced into the background, politically by the discord between the governments and the feudal aristocracy gathered around the Holy Alliance on the one hand, and the popular masses, led by the bourgeoisie, on the other; economically by the quarrel between industrial capital and aristocratic landed property- -a quarrel that in France was concealed by the opposition between small and large landed property, and that in England broke out openly after the Corn Laws. The literature of Political Economy in England at this time calls to mind the stormy forward movement in France after Dr. Quesnay's death, but only as a Saint Martin's summer reminds us of spring. With the year 1830 came the decisive crisis.
In France and in England the bourgeoisie had conquered political power. Thenceforth, the class-struggle, practically as well as theoretically, took on more and more outspoken and threatening forms. It sounded the knell of scientific bourgeois economy. It was thenceforth no longer a question, whether this theorem or that was true, but whether it was useful to capital or harmful, expedient or inexpedient, politically dangerous or not. In place of disinterested inquirers, there were hired prize fighters; in place of genuine scientific research, the bad conscience and the evil intent of apologetic. Still, even the obtrusive pamphlets with which the Anti-Corn Law League, led by the manufacturers Cobden and Bright, deluged the world, have a historic interest, if no scientific one, on account of their polemic against the landed aristocracy. But since then the Free-trade legislation, inaugurated by Sir Robert Peel, has deprived vulgar economy of this its last sting.
The Continental revolution of 1848-9 also had its reaction in England. Men who still claimed some scientific standing and aspired to be something more than mere sophists and sycophants of the ruling-classes tried to harmonise the Political Economy of capital with the claims, no longer to be ignored, of the proletariat. Hence a shallow syncretism of which John Stuart Mill is the best representative. It is a declaration of bankruptcy by bourgeois economy, an event on which the great Russian scholar and critic, N. Tschernyschewsky, has thrown the light of a master mind in his "Outlines of Political Economy according to Mill."
In Germany, therefore, the capitalist mode of production came to a head, after its antagonistic character had already, in France and England, shown itself in a fierce strife of classes. And meanwhile, moreover, the German proletariat had attained a much more clear class-consciousness than the German bourgeoisie. Thus, at the very moment when a bourgeois science of Political Economy seemed at last possible in Germany, it had in reality again become impossible.
Under these circumstances its professors fell into two groups. The one set, prudent, practical business folk, flocked to the banner of Bastiat, the most superficial and therefore the most adequate representative of the apologetic of vulgar economy; the other, proud of the professorial dignity of their science, followed John Stuart Mill in his attempt to reconcile irreconcilables. Just as in the classical time of bourgeois economy, so also in the time of its decline, the Germans remained mere schoolboys, imitators and followers, petty retailers and hawkers in the service of the great foreign wholesale concern.
The peculiar historical development of German society therefore forbids, in that country, all original work in bourgeois economy; but not the criticism of that economy. So far as such criticism represents a class, it can only represent the class whose vocation in history is the overthrow of the capitalist mode of production and the final abolition of all classes — the proletariat.
The learned and unlearned spokesmen of the German bourgeoisie tried at first to kill "Das Kapital" by silence, as they had managed to do with my earlier writings. As soon as they found that these tactics no longer fitted in with the conditions of the time, they wrote, under pretence of criticising my book, prescriptions "for the tranquillisation of the bourgeois mind." But they found in the workers' press — see, e.g., Joseph Dietzgen's articles in the Volksstaat — antagonists stronger than themselves, to whom (down to this very day) they owe a reply. 
An excellent Russian translation of "Das Kapital" appeared in the spring of 1872. The edition of 3,000 copies is already nearly exhausted. As early as 1871, N. Sieber, Professor of Political Economy in the University of Kiev, in his work "David Ricardo's Theory of Value and of Capital," referred to my theory of value, of money and of capital, as in its fundamentals a necessary sequel to the teaching of Smith and Ricardo. That which astonishes the Western European in the reading of this excellent work, is the author's consistent and firm grasp of the purely theoretical position.
That the method employed in "Das Kapital" has been little understood, is shown by the various conceptions, contradictory one to another, that have been formed of it.
Thus the Paris Revue Positiviste reproaches me in that, on the one hand, I treat economics metaphysically, and on the other hand — imagine! — confine myself to the mere critical analysis of actual facts, instead of writing receipts (Comtist ones?) for the cook-shops of the future. In answer to the reproach in re metaphysics, Professor Sieber has it: "In so far as it deals with actual theory, the method of Marx is the deductive method of the whole English school, a school whose failings and virtues are common to the best theoretic economists." M. Block — "Les Theoriciens du Socialisme en Allemagne. Extrait du Journal des Economistes, Juillet et Aout 1872" — makes the discovery that my method is analytic and says: "Par cet ouvrage M. Marx se classe parmi les esprits analytiques les plus eminents." German reviews, of course, shriek out at "Hegelian sophistics." The European Messenger of St. Petersburg in an article dealing exclusively with the method of "Das Kapital" (May number, 1872, pp. 427-436), finds my method of inquiry severely realistic, but my method of presentation, unfortunately, German- dialectical. It says: "At first sight, if the judgment is based on the external form of the presentation of the subject, Marx is the most ideal of ideal philosophers, always in the German, i.e., the bad sense of the word. But in point of fact he is infinitely more realistic than all his forerunners in the work of economic criticism. He can in no sense be called an idealist." I cannot answer the writer better than by aid of a few extracts from his own criticism, which may interest some of my readers to whom the Russian original is inaccessible.
After a quotation from the preface to my "Criticism of Political Economy," Berlin, 1859, pp. IV-VII, where I discuss the materialistic basis of my method, the writer goes on:
"The one thing which is of moment to Marx, is to find the law of the phenomena with whose investigation he is concerned; and not only is that law of moment to him, which governs these phenomena, in so far as they have a definite form and mutual connexion within a given historical period. Of still greater moment to him is the law of their variation, of their development, i.e., of their transition from one form into another, from one series of connexions into a different one. This law once discovered, he investigates in detail the effects in which it manifests itself in social life. Consequently, Marx only troubles himself about one thing: to show, by rigid scientific investigation, the necessity of successive determinate orders of social conditions, and to establish, as impartially as possible, the facts that serve him for fundamental starting-points. For this it is quite enough, if he proves, at the same time, both the necessity of the present order of things, and the necessity of another order into which the first must inevitably pass over; and this all the same, whether men believe or do not believe it, whether they are conscious or unconscious of it. Marx treats the social movement as a process of natural history, governed by laws not only independent of human will, consciousness and intelligence, but rather, on the contrary, determining that will, consciousness and intelligence.... If in the history of civilisation the conscious element plays a part so subordinate, then it is self-evident that a critical inquiry whose subject-matter is civilisation, can, less than anything else, have for its basis any form of, or any result of, consciousness. That is to say, that not the idea, but the material phenomenon alone can serve as its starting-point. Such an inquiry will confine itself to the confrontation and the comparison of a fact, not with ideas, but with another fact. For this inquiry, the one thing of moment is, that both facts be investigated as accurately as possible, and that they actually form, each with respect to the other, different momenta of an evolution; but most important of all is the rigid analysis of the series of successions, of the sequences and concatenations in which the different stages of such an evolution present themselves. But it will be said, the general laws of economic life are one and the same, no matter whether they are applied to the present or the past. This Marx directly denies. According to him, such abstract laws do not exist. On the contrary, in his opinion every historical period has laws of its own.... As soon as society has outlived a given period of development, and is passing over from one given stage to another, it begins to be subject also to other laws. In a word, economic life offers us a phenomenon analogous to the history of evolution in other branches of biology. The old economists misunderstood the nature of economic laws when they likened them to the laws of physics and chemistry. A more thorough analysis of phenomena shows that social organisms differ among themselves as fundamentally as plants or animals. Nay, one and the same phenomenon falls under quite different laws in consequence of the different structure of those organisms as a whole, of the variations of their individual organs, of the different conditions in which those organs function, &c. Marx, e.g., denies that the law of population is the same at all times and in all places. He asserts, on the contrary, that every stage of development has its own law of population.... With the varying degree of development of productive power, social conditions and the laws governing them vary too. Whilst Marx sets himself the task of following and explaining from this point of view the economic system established by the sway of capital, he is only formulating, in a strictly scientific manner, the aim that every accurate investigation into economic life must have. The scientific value of such an inquiry lies in the disclosing of the special laws that regulate the origin, existence, development, death of a given social organism and its replacement by another and higher one. And it is this value that, in point of fact, Marx's book has."
Whilst the writer pictures what he takes to be actually my method, in this striking and [as far as concerns my own application of it] generous way, what else is he picturing but the dialectic method?
Of course the method of presentation must differ in form from that of inquiry. The latter has to appropriate the material in detail, to analyse its different forms of development, to trace out their inner connexion. Only after this work is done, can the actual movement be adequately described. If this is done successfully, if the life of the subject-matter is ideally reflected as in a mirror, then it may appear as if we had before us a mere a priori construction.
My dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life-process of the human brain, i.e., the process of thinking, which, under the name of "the Idea," he even transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of "the Idea." With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought.
The mystifying side of Hegelian dialectic I criticised nearly thirty years ago, at a time when it was still the fashion. But just as I was working at the first volume of "Das Kapital," it was the good pleasure of the peevish, arrogant, mediocre 'Epigonoi who now talk large in cultured Germany, to treat Hegel in same way as the brave Moses Mendelssohn in Lessing's time treated Spinoza, i.e., as a "dead dog." I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker, and even here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the modes of expression peculiar to him. The mystification which dialectic suffers in Hegel's hands, by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.
In its mystified form, dialectic became the fashion in Germany, because it seemed to transfigure and to glorify the existing state of things. In its rational form it is a scandal and abomination to bourgeoisdom and its doctrinaire professors, because it includes in its comprehension and affirmative recognition of the existing state of things, at the same time also, the recognition of the negation of that state, of its inevitable breaking up; because it regards every historically developed social form as in fluid movement, and therefore takes into account its transient nature not less than its momentary existence; because it lets nothing impose upon it, and is in its essence critical and revolutionary.
The contradictions inherent in the movement of capitalist society impress themselves upon the practical bourgeois most strikingly in the changes of the periodic cycle, through which modern industry runs, and whose crowning point is the universal crisis. That crisis is once again approaching, although as yet but in its preliminary stage; and by the universality of its theatre and the intensity of its action it will drum dialectics even into the heads of the mushroom-upstarts of the new, holy Prusso-German empire.
January 24, 1873
 Geschichtliche Darstellung des Handels, der Gewerbe und des Ackerbaus, &c.. von Gustav von Gulich. 5 vols., Jena. 1830-45.
 See my work "Zur Kritik, &c.," p. 39.
 The mealy-mouthed babblers of German vulgar economy fell foul of the style of my book. No one can feel the literary shortcomings in "Das Kapital" more strongly than I myself. Yet I will for the benefit and the enjoyment of these gentlemen and their public quote in this connexion one English and one Russian notice. The Saturday Review always hostile to my views, said in its notice of the first edition: "The presentation of the subject invests the driest economic questions with a certain peculiar charm." The "St. Petersburg Journal" (Sankt-Peterburgskie Viedomosti), in its issue of April 8 (20), 1872, says: "The presentation of the subject, with the exception of one or two exceptionally special parts, is distinguished by its comprehensibility by the general reader, its clearness, and, in spite of the scientific intricacy of the subject, by an unusual liveliness. In this respect the author in no way resembles ... the majority of German scholars who ... write their books in a language so dry and obscure that the heads of ordinary mortals are cracked by it."
Transcribed by Hinrich Kuhls
Html Markup by Stephen Baird (1999)
Mr. J. Roy set himself the task of producing a version that would be as exact and even literal as possible, and has scrupulously fulfilled it. But his very scrupulosity has compelled me to modify his text, with a view to rendering it more intelligible to the reader. These alterations, introduced from day to day, as the book was published in parts, were not made with equal care and were bound to result in a lack of harmony in style.
Having once undertaken this work of revision, I was led to apply it also to the basic original text (the second German edition), to simplify some arguments, to complete others, to give additional historical or statistical material, to add critical suggestions, etc. Hence, whatever the literary defects of this French edition may be, it possesses a scientific value independent of the original and should be consulted even by readers familiar with German.
Below I give the passages in the Afterword to the second German edition which treat of the development of Political Economy in Germany and the method employed in the present work.
April 28, 1875
Transcribed by Hinrich Kuhls
Html Markup by Stephen Baird (1999)
Marx was not destined to get this, the third, edition ready for press himself. The powerful thinker, to whose greatness even his opponents now make obeisance, died on March 14, 1883.
Upon me who in Marx lost the best, the truest friend I had — and had for forty years — the friend to whom I am more indebted than can be expressed in words — upon me now devolved the duty of attending to the publication of this third edition, as well as of the second volume, which Marx had left behind in manuscript. I must now account here to the reader for the way in which I discharged the first part of my duty.
It was Marx's original intention to re-write a great part of the text of Volume I, to formulate many theoretical points more exactly, insert new ones and bring historical and statistical materials up to date. But his ailing condition and the urgent need to do the final editing of Volume II induced him to give up this scheme. Only the most necessary alterations were to be made, only the insertions which the French edition ("Le Capital." Par Karl Marx. Paris, Lachâtre 1873) already contained, were to be put in.
Among the books left by Marx there was a German copy which he himself had corrected here and there and provided with references to the French edition; also a French copy in which he had indicated the exact passages to be used. These alterations and additions are confined, with few exceptions, to the last [Engl. ed.: second last] part of the book: "The Accumulation of Capital." Here the previous text followed the original draft more closely than elsewhere, while the preceding sections had been gone over more thoroughly. The style was therefore more vivacious, more of a single cast, but also more careless, studded with Anglicisms and in parts unclear; there were gaps here and there in the presentation of arguments, some important particulars being merely alluded to.
With regard to the style, Marx had himself thoroughly revised several sub-sections and thereby had indicated to me here, as well as in numerous oral suggestions, the length to which I could go in eliminating English technical terms and other Anglicisms. Marx would in any event have gone over the additions and supplemental texts and have replaced the smooth French with his own terse German; I had to be satisfied, when transferring them, with bringing them into maximum harmony with the original text.
Thus not a single word was changed in this third edition without my firm conviction that the author would have altered it himself. It would never occur to me to introduce into "Das Kapital" the current jargon in which German economists are wont to express themselves — that gibberish in which, for instance, one who for cash has others give him their labour is called a labour-giver (Arbeitgeber) and one whose labour is taken away from him for wages is called a labour-taker (Arbeitnehmer). In French, too, the word "travail" is used in every-day life in the sense of "occupation." But the French would rightly consider any economist crazy should he call the capitalist a donneur de travail (a labour-giver) or the worker a receveur de travail (a labour-taker).
Nor have I taken the liberty to convert the English coins and moneys, measures and weights used throughout the text to their new-German equivalents. When the first edition appeared there were as many kinds of measures and weights in Germany as there are days in the year. Besides there were two kinds of marks (the Reichsmark existed at the time only in the imagination of Soetbeer, who had invented it in the late thirties), two kinds of gulden and at least three kinds of taler, including one called neues Zweidrittel. In the natural sciences the metric system prevailed, in the world market — English measures and weights. Under such circumstances English units of measure were quite natural for a book which had to take its factual proofs almost exclusively from British industrial relations. The last-named reason is decisive even to-day, especially because the corresponding relations in the world market have hardly changed and English weights and measures almost completely control precisely the key industries, iron and cotton.
In conclusion a few words on Marx's art of quotation, which is so little understood. When they are pure statements of fact or descriptions, the quotations, from the English Blue books, for example, serve of course as simple documentary proof. But this is not so when the theoretical views of other economists are cited. Here the quotation is intended merely to state where, when and by whom an economic idea conceived in the course of development was first clearly enunciated. Here the only consideration is that the economic conception in question must be of some significance to the history of science, that it is the more or less adequate theoretical expression of the economic situation of its time. But whether this conception still possesses any absolute or relative validity from the standpoint of the author or whether it already has become wholly past history is quite immaterial. Hence these quotations are only a running commentary to the text, a commentary borrowed from the history of economic science, and establish the dates and originators of certain of the more important advances in economic theory And that was a very necessary thing in a science whose historians have so far distinguished themselves only by tendentious ignorance characteristic of careerists. It will now be understandable why Marx, in consonance with the Afterword to the second edition, only in very exceptional eases had occasion to quote German economists.
There is hope that the second volume will appear in the course of 1884.
November 7, 1883
Transcribed by Bert Shultze
Html Markup by Stephen Baird (1999)
The publication of an English version of "Das Kapital" needs no apology. On the contrary, an explanation might be expected why this English version has been delayed until now, seeing that for some years past the theories advocated in this book have been constantly referred to, attacked and defended, interpreted and misinterpreted, in the periodical press and the current literature of both England and America.
When, soon after the author's death in 1883, it became evident that an English edition of the work was really required, Mr. Samuel Moore, for many years a friend of Marx and of the present writer, and than whom, perhaps, no one is more conversant with the book itself, consented to undertake the translation which the literary executors of Marx were anxious to lay before the public. It was understood that I should compare the MS. with the original work, and suggest such alterations as I might deem advisable. When, by and by, it was found that Mr. Moore's professional occupations prevented him from finishing the translation as quickly as we all desired, we gladly accepted Dr. Aveling's offer to undertake a portion of the work; at the same time Mrs. Aveling, Marx's youngest daughter, offered to check the quotations and to restore the original text of the numerous passages taken from English authors and Blue books and translated by Marx into German. This has been done throughout, with but a few unavoidable exceptions.
The following portions of the book have been translated by Dr. Aveling: (I) Chapters X. (The Working-Day), and XI. (Rate and Mass of Surplus-Value); (2) Part VI. (Wages, comprising Chapters XIX. to XXII.); (3) from Chapter XXIV., Section 4 (Circumstances that &c.) to the end of the book, comprising the latter part of Chapter XXIV.,. Chapter XXV., and the whole of Part VIII. (Chapters XXVI. to XXXIII); (4) the two Author's prefaces. All the rest of the book has been done by Mr. Moore. While, thus, each of the translators is responsible for his share of the work only, I bear a joint responsibility for the whole.
The third German edition, which has been made the basis of our work throughout, was prepared by me, in 1883, with the assistance of notes left by the author, indicating the passages of the second edition to be replaced by designated passages, from the French text published in 1873.  The alterations thus effected in the text of the second edition generally coincided with changes prescribed by Marx in a set of MS. instructions for an English translation that was planned, about ten years ago, in America, but abandoned chiefly for want of a fit and proper translator. This MS. was placed at our disposal by our old friend Mr. F. A. Sorge of Hoboken N. J. It designates some further interpolations from the French edition; but, being so many years older than the final instructions for the third edition, I did not consider myself at liberty to make use of it otherwise than sparingly, and chiefly in cases where it helped us over difficulties. In the same way, the French text has been referred to in most of the difficult passages, as an indicator of what the author himself was prepared to sacrifice wherever something of the full import of the original had to be sacrificed in the rendering.
There is, however, one difficulty we could not spare the reader: the use of certain terms in a sense different from what they have, not only in common life, but in ordinary Political Economy. But this was unavoidable. Every new aspect of a science involves a revolution in the technical terms of that science. This is best shown by chemistry, where the whole of the terminology is radically changed about once in twenty years, and where you will hardly find a single organic compound that has not gone through a whole series of different names. Political Economy has generally been content to take, just as they were, the terms of commercial and industrial life, and to operate with them, entirely failing to see that by so doing, it confined itself within the narrow circle of ideas expressed by those terms. Thus, though perfectly aware that both profits and rent are but sub-divisions, fragments of that unpaid part of the product which the labourer has to supply to his employer (its first appropriator, though not its ultimate exclusive owner), yet even classical Political Economy never went beyond the received notions of profits and rents, never examined this unpaid part of the product (called by Marx surplus-product) in its integrity as a whole, and therefore never arrived at a clear comprehension, either of its origin and nature, or of the laws that regulate the subsequent distribution of its value. Similarly all industry, not agricultural or handicraft, is indiscriminately comprised in the term of manufacture, and thereby the distinction is obliterated between two great and essentially different periods of economic history: the period of manufacture proper, based on the division of manual labour, and the period of modern industry based on machinery. It is, however, self- evident that a theory which views modern capitalist production as a mere passing stage in the economic history of mankind, must make use of terms different from those habitual to writers who look upon that form of production as imperishable and final.
A word respecting the author's method of quoting may not be out of place. In the majority of cases, the quotations serve, in the usual way, as documentary evidence in support of assertions made in the text. But in many instances, passages from economic writers are quoted in order to indicate when, where, and by whom a certain proposition was for the first time clearly enunciated. This is done in cases where the proposition quoted is of importance as being a more or less adequate expression of the conditions of social production and exchange prevalent at the time, and quite irrespective of Marx's recognition, or otherwise, of its general validity. These quotations, therefore, supplement the text by a running commentary taken from the history of the science.
Our translation comprises the first book of the work only. But this first book is in a great measure a whole in itself, and has for twenty years ranked as an independent work. The second book, edited in German by me, in 1885, is decidedly incomplete without the third, which cannot be published before the end of 1887. When Book III. has been brought out in the original German, it will then be soon enough to think about preparing an English edition of both.
"Das Kapital" is often called, on the Continent, "the Bible of the working-class." That the conclusions arrived at in this work are daily more and more becoming the fundamental principles of the great working- class movement, not only in Germany and Switzerland, but in France, in Holland and Belgium, in America, and even in Italy and Spain, that everywhere the working-class more and more recognises, in these conclusions, the most adequate expression of its condition and of its aspirations, nobody acquainted with that movement will deny. And in England, too, the theories of Marx, even at this moment, exercise a powerful influence upon the socialist movement which is spreading in the ranks of "cultured" people no less than in those of the working-class. But that is not all. The time is rapidly approaching when a thorough examination of England's economic position will impose itself as an irresistible national necessity. The working of the industrial system of this country, impossible without a constant and rapid extension of production, and therefore of markets, is coming to a dead stop.
Free-trade has exhausted its resources; even Manchester doubts this its quondam economic gospel.  Foreign industry, rapidly developing, stares English production in the face everywhere, not only in protected, but also in neutral markets, and even on this side of the Channel. While the productive power increases in a geometric, the extension of markets proceeds at best in an arithmetic ratio. The decennial cycle of stagnation, prosperity, over-production and crisis, ever recurrent from 1825 to 1867, seems indeed to have run its course; but only to land us in the slough of despond of a permanent and chronic depression. The sighed for period of prosperity will not come; as often as we seem to perceive its heralding symptoms, so often do they again vanish into air. Meanwhile, each succeeding winter brings up afresh the great question, "what to do with the unemployed"; but while the number of the unemployed keeps swelling from year to year, there is nobody to answer that question; and we can almost calculate the moment when the unemployed losing patience will take their own fate into their own hands. Surely, at such a moment, the voice ought to be heard of a man whose whole theory is the result of a lifelong study of the economic history and condition of England, and whom that study led to the conclusion that, at least in Europe, England is the only country where the inevitable social revolution might be effected entirely by peaceful and legal means. He certainly never forgot to add that he hardly expected the English ruling classes to submit, without a "pro-slavery rebellion," to this peaceful and legal revolution.
November 5, 1886
 "Le Capital," par Karl Marx. Traduction de M.J. Roy, entierement revisee par l'auteur. Paris. Lachatre. This translation, especially in the latter part of the book, contains considerable alterations in and additions to the text of the second German edition.
 At the quarterly meeting of the Manchester Chamber of commerce, held this afternoon a warm discussion took place on the subject of Free-trade. A resolution was moved to the effect that "having waited in vain 40 years for other nations to follow the Free-trade example of England, this Chamber thinks the time has now arrived to reconsider that position. The resolution was rejected by a majority of one only, the figures being 21 for, and 22 against. — Evening Standard, Nov. 1, 1886.
Html Markup by Stephen Baird (1999)
After again comparing the French edition and Marx's manuscript remarks I have made some further additions to the German text from that translation. They will be found on p. 80 (3rd edition, p. 88) [present edition, pp. 117-18], pp. 458-60 (3rd edition, pp. 509-10) [present edition, pp. 462-65],  pp. 547-51 (3rd edition, p. 600) [present edition, pp. 548-51], pp. 591-93 (3rd edition, p. 644) [present edition, 587-89] and p. 596 (3rd edition, p. 648) [present edition, p. 591] in Note 1. I have also followed the example of the French and English editions by putting the long footnote on the miners into the text (3rd edition, pp.509- 15; 4th edition, pp. 461-67) [present edition, pp. 465-71]. Other small alterations are of a purely technical nature.
Further, I have added a few more explanatory notes, especially where changed historical conditions seemed to demand this. All these additional notes are enclosed in square brackets and marked either with my initials or "D. H." 
Meanwhile a complete revision of the numerous quotations had been made necessary by the publication of the English edition. For this edition Marx's youngest daughter, Eleanor, undertook to compare all the quotations with their originals, so that those taken from English sources, which constitute the vast majority, are given there not as re-translations from the German but in the original English form In preparing the fourth edition it was therefore incumbent upon me to consult this text. The comparison revealed various small inaccuracies. Page numbers wrongly indicated, due partly to mistakes in copying from note-books, and partly to the accumulated misprints of three editions; misplaced quotation or omission marks, which cannot be avoided when a mass of quotations is copied from note-book extracts; here and there some rather unhappy translation of a word; particular passages quoted from the old Paris note-books of 1843-45, when Marx did not know English and was reading English economists in French translations, so that the double translation yielded a slightly different shade of meaning, e.g., in the case of Steuart, Ure, etc., where the English text had now to be used — and other similar instances of trifling inaccuracy or negligence. But anyone who compares the fourth edition with the previous ones can convince himself that all this laborious process of emendation has not produced the smallest change in the book worth speaking of. There was only one quotation which could not be traced — the one from Richard Jones (4th edition, p. 562, note 47). Marx probably slipped up when writing down the title of the book.  All the other quotations retain their cogency in full, or have enhanced it due to their present exact form.
Here, however, I am obliged to revert to an old story.
I know of only one case in which the accuracy of a quotation given by Marx has been called in question. But as the issue dragged beyond his lifetime I cannot well ignore it here.
On March 7, 1872, there appeared in the Berlin Concordia, organ of the German Manufacturers' Association, an anonymous article entitled: "How Karl Marx Quotes." It was here asserted, with an effervescence of moral indignation and unparliamentary language, that the quotation from Gladstone's Budget Speech of April 16, 1863 (in the Inaugural Address of the International Workingmen's Association, 1864, and repeated in "Capital," Vol. I, p. 617, 4th edition; p. 671, 3rd edition) [present edition, p. 610], had been falsified; that not a single word of the sentence: "this intoxicating augmentation of wealth and power ... is ... entirely confined to classes of property" was to be found in the (semi-official) stenographic report in Hansard. "But this sentence is nowhere to be found in Gladstone's speech. Exactly the opposite is stated there." (In bold type): "This sentence, both in form and substance, is a lie inserted by Marx."
Marx, to whom the number of Concordia was sent the following May, answered the anonymous author in the Volksstaat of June 1st. As he could not recall which newspaper report he had used for the quotation, he limited himself to citing, first the equivalent quotation from two English publications, and then the report in The Times, according to which Gladstone says:
"That is the state of the case as regards the wealth of this country. I must say for one, I should look almost with apprehension and with pain upon this intoxicating augmentation of wealth and power, if it were my belief that it was confined to classes who are in easy circumstances. This takes no cognisance at all of the condition of the labouring population. The augmentation I have described and which is founded, I think, upon accurate returns, is an augmentation entirely confined to classes possessed of property."
Thus Gladstone says here that he would be sorry if it were so, but it is so: this intoxicating augmentation of wealth and power is entirely confined to classes of property. And as to the semi-official Hansard, Marx goes on to say: "In the version which he afterwards manipulated [zurechtgestümpert], Mr. Gladstone was astute enough to obliterate [wegzupfuschen] this passage, which, coming from an English Chancellor of the Exchequer, was certainly compromising. This, by the way, is a traditional usage in the English parliament and not an invention gotten up by little Lasker against Bebel."
The anonymous writer gets angrier and angrier. In his answer in Concordia, July 4th, he sweeps aside second-hand sources and demurely suggests that it is the "custom" to quote parliamentary speeches from the stenographic report; adding, however, that The Times report (which includes the "falsified" sentence) and the Hansard report (which omits it) are "substantially in complete agreement," while The Times report likewise contains "the exact opposite to that notorious passage in the Inaugural Address." This fellow carefully conceals the fact that The Times report explicitly includes that self-same "notorious passage," alongside of its alleged "opposite." Despite all this, however, the anonymous one feels that he is stuck fast and that only some new dodge can save him. Thus, whilst his article bristles, as we have just shown, with "impudent mendacity" and is interlarded with such edifying terms of abuse as "bad faith," "dishonesty," "lying allegation," "that spurious quotation," "impudent mendacity," "a quotation entirely falsified," "this falsification," "simply infamous," etc., he finds it necessary to divert the issue to another domain and therefore promises "to explain in a second article the meaning which we (the non-mendacious anonymous one) attribute to the content of Gladstone's words." As if his particular opinion, of no decisive value as it is, had anything whatever to do with the matter. This second article was printed in Concordia on July 11th.
Marx replied again in the Volksstaat of August 7th now giving also the reports of the passage in question from the Morning Star and the Morning Advertiser of April 17, 1863. According to both reports Gladstone said that he would look with apprehension, etc., upon this intoxicating augmentation of wealth and power if he believed it to be confined to "classes in easy circumstances." But this augmentation was in fact "entirely confined to classes possessed of property." So these reports too reproduced word for word the sentence alleged to have been "lyingly inserted." Marx further established once more, by a comparison of The Times and the Hansard texts, that this sentence, which three newspaper reports of identical content, appearing independently of one another the next morning, proved to have been really uttered, was missing from the Hansard report, revised according to the familiar "custom," and that Gladstone, to use Marx's words, "had afterwards conjured it away." In conclusion Marx stated that he had no time for further intercourse with the anonymous one. The latter also seems to have had enough, at any rate Marx received no further issues of Concordia.
With this the matter appeared to be dead and buried. True, once or twice later on there reached us, from persons in touch with the University of Cambridge, mysterious rumours of an unspeakable literary crime which Marx was supposed to have committed in "Capital", but despite all investigation nothing more definite could be learned. Then, on November 29, 1883, eight months after Marx's death, there appeared in The Times a letter headed Trinity College, Cambridge, and signed Sedley Taylor, in which this little man, who dabbles in the mildest sort of co-operative affairs, seizing upon some chance pretext or other, at last enlightened us, not only concerning those vague Cambridge rumours, but also the anonymous one in Concordia.
"What appears extremely singular," says the little man from Trinity College, "is that it was reserved for Professor Brentano (then of the University of Breslau, now of that of Strassburg) to expose... the bad faith which had manifestly dictated the citation made from Mr. Gladstone's speech in the [Inaugural] Address. Herr Karl Marx, who ... attempted to defend the citation, had the hardihood, in the deadly shifts to which Brentano's masterly conduct of the attack speedily reduced him, to assert that Mr. Gladstone had 'manipulated' the report of his speech in The Times of April 17, 1863, before it appeared in Hansard, in order to 'obliterate' a passage which 'was certainly compromising' for an English Chancellor of the Exchequer. On Brentano's showing, by a detailed comparison of texts, that the reports of The Times and of Hansard agreed in utterly excluding the meaning which craftily isolated quotation had put upon Mr. Gladstone's words, Marx withdrew from further controversy under the plea of 'want of time.'"
So that was at the bottom of the whole business! And thus was the anonymous campaign of Herr Brentano in Concordia gloriously reflected in the productively co-operating imagination of Cambridge. Thus he stood, sword in hand, and thus he battled, in his "masterly conduct of the attack," this St. George of the German Manufacturers' Association, whilst the infernal dragon Marx, "in deadly shifts," "speedily" breathed his last at his feet.
All this Ariostian battle-scene, however, only serves to conceal the dodges of our St. George. Here there is no longer talk of "lying insertion" or "falsification," but of "craftily isolated quotation." The whole issue was shifted, and St. George and his Cambridge squire very well knew why.
Eleanor Marx replied in the monthly journal To-day (February 1884), as The Times refused to publish her letter. She once more focussed the debate on the sole question at issue: had Marx "lyingly inserted" that sentence or not? To this Mr. Sedley Taylor answered that "the question whether a particular sentence did or did not occur in Mr. Gladstone's speech" had been, in his opinion, "of very subordinate importance" in the Brentano-Marx controversy, "compared to the issue whether the quotation in dispute was made with the intention of conveying, or of perverting Mr. Gladstone's meaning." He then admits that The Times report contains "a verbal contrariety"; but, if the context is rightly interpreted, i.e., in the Gladstonian Liberal sense, it shows what Mr. Gladstone meant to say. (To-day, March, 1884.) The most comic point here is that our little Cambridge man now insists upon quoting the speech not from Hansard, as, according to the anonymous Brentano, it is- "customary" to do, but from The Times report, which the same Brentano had characterised as "necessarily bungling." Naturally so, for in Hansard the vexatious sentence is missing.
Eleanor Marx had no difficulty (in the same issue of To-day) in dissolving all this argumentation into thin air. Either Mr. Taylor had read the controversy of 1872, in which case he was now making not only "lying insertions" but also "lying" suppressions; or he had not read it and ought to remain silent. In either case it was certain that he did not dare to maintain for a moment the accusation of his friend Brentano that Marx had made a "lying" addition. On the contrary, Marx, it now seems, had not lyingly added but suppressed an important sentence. But this same sentence is quoted on page 5 of the Inaugural Address, a few lines before the alleged "lying insertion." And as to the "contrariety" in Gladstone's speech, is it not Marx himself, who in "Capital," p. 618 (3rd edition, p. 672), note 105 [present edition, p. 611, Note 1], refers to "the continual crying contradictions in Gladstone's Budget speeches of 1863 and 1864"? Only he does not presume à la Mr. Sedley Taylor to resolve them into complacent Liberal sentiments. Eleanor Marx, in concluding her reply, finally sums up as follows:
"Marx has not suppressed anything worth quoting, neither has he 'lyingly' added anything. But he has restored, rescued from oblivion, a particular sentence of one of Mr. Gladstone's speeches, a sentence which had indubitably been pronounced, but which somehow or other had found its way — out of Hansard."
With that Mr. Sedley Taylor too had had enough, and the result of this whole professorial cobweb, spun out over two decades and two great countries, is that nobody has since dared to cast any other aspersion upon Marx's literary honesty; whilst Mr. Sedley Taylor, no doubt, will hereafter put as little confidence in the literary war bulletins of Herr Brentano as Herr Brentano will in the papal infallibility of Hansard.
June 25. 1890
 In the English edition of 1887 this addition was made by Engels himself. — Ed.
 In the present edition they are put into square brackets and marked with the initials
 Marx was not mistaken in the title of the book but in the page. He put down 36 instead of 37. (See p.p. 560-61 of the present edition.) — Ed.
Transcribed by Bert Shultz
Html Markup by Stephen Baird (1999)
"16 August 1867 2 a.m.
"Have just finished correcting the last sheet (49th) of the book. ... So, this volume is finished. I owe it to you alone that it was possible! Without your self-sacrifice for me I could not possibly have managed the immense labour demanded by the 3 volumes. I embrace you, full of thanks! ...
"Salut, my dear, valued friend.
Html Markup by Stephen Baird (1999)