Karl Marx

The Poverty of Philosophy

Answer to the Philosophy of Poverty
by M. Proudhon

Written: First half of 1847
Source: The Poverty of Philosophy, by Karl Marx, Progress Publishers, 1955;
First Published: in Paris and Brussels, 1847
Translated: from the French by the Institute of Marxism Leninism, 1955;
Online Version: mea 1993; Marx/Engels Internet Archive (marxists.org) 1999;
Transcribed: Zodiac;
Proofed: and corrected by Matthew Carmody, 2009;
HTML Markup: Brian Baggins.

PDF and Word versions in one file.



Preface to the First German Edition (1885)
Introduction to the Second German Edition (1892)

Chapter One: A Scientific Discovery

Part 1: The Antithesis of Use Value and Exchange Value
Part 2: Constituted Value of Synthetic Value
Part 3: Application of the Law of the Proportionality of Value

Chapter Two: The Metaphysics of Political Economy

Part 1: The Method
Part 2: Division of Labour and Machinery
Part 3: Competition and Monopoly
Part 4: Property or Ground Rent
Part 5: Strikes and Combinations of Workers


Introduction to this Version

In this work Marx critiques the economic (chapter one) and philosophical (chapter two) doctrine of P.J. Proudhon.

Marx started work on this book in January 1847, as can be judged from Engel's letter to Marx on January 15, 1847. By the begining of April 1847, Marx's work was completed in the main and had gone to the press. On June 15, 1847 he wrote a short foreward.

Published in Paris and Brussels in 1847, the book was not republished in full during Marx's lifetime. Excerpts from section five of Chapter Two appeared in different years, mostly between 1872 - 1875 in papers such as La Emancipacion, Der Volksstaat, Soical-Demokrat, and others. In 1880 Marx attempted to publish the Poverty of Philosophy in the French socialist newspaper L'Égalité, the organ of the French Workers' Party, but only the foreword and section one of Chapter One were published.

This translation is from the original 1847 French edition. It has been updated to also include the changes/corrections Marx made in the copy of the book he presented to N. Utina in 1876, as well as the corrections made by Frederick Engels in the second French edition and the German editions of 1885 and 1892. The first English edition of this work was published in 1900 by Twentieth Century Press. Note: italics in quotations are as a rule Marx's. Also, references added in brackets correspond to the same edition Marx used.