The Story of a Great Discovery, Vygodsky, 1965

Chapter 8

An artistic whole. Logical and historical aspects. "Theories of Surplus-Value " - the beginning of the real work on " Capital ". " The second part ... will appear independently under the title Capital ...". From six to four books. "Confidentially, I indeed began 'Capital' in exactly the opposite sequence ...". The theoretical and the historical part of "Capital".

How "Capital" took shape

At the same time as he developed his economic theory, Marx also worked out the structure of his work on economics. The task of drafting the structure of"Capital" was no less difficult and agonizing than the substantiation of the theory of surplus-value. But every success is based on hard work. At last, Marx found a form for his work on economics which matched the brilliance, of its content. Marx was aware of the intrinsic perfection of his work. It is clear, he wrote to Engels in February 1866 "that many shortcomings in detail must exist in a work like mine. But the composition, the coherence, is a triumph;of German science which an individual German can admit since it is in no way his merit but rather belongs to the nation."[1]

As everybody knows, "Capital" consists of four volumes. However, it would not be correct to assume that Marx sets out the positive representation of his theory in the first three volumes while the fourth volume is- devoted solely to a critique of bourgeois political economy. This is indicated by the full title of the work: "Capital. A Critique of Political Economy". It is quite clear that the second part Of this title - "A Critique of Political Economy" - applies to all four parts of "Capital". By 'critique', Marx understood the refutation of the theories of bourgeois political economy. It is a question here of a critique which is constructive in the highest degree. Marx himself never drew a sharp distinction between a theoretical and a critical part of "Capital". In a note to the first volume of "it is stated that "The insufficiency of Ricardo's analysis of the magnitude of value ... will appear from the 3rd and 4th books of this work."[2] Even from this it is apparent that the critique of bourgeois political economy is not only the subject of the fourth volume of "Capital" but of the others as well.

The relation between the first three volumes and the fourth can be described essentially as a relation between the logical and the historical. In volumes I to III of "Capital", bourgeois political economy is mainly criticized from the logical standpoint whilst in the fourth volume (in "Theories of Surplus-Value") this is chiefly done from the historical point of view since the history of economic theory reflects the history of bourgeois society. Of course, when considered historically, bourgeois political economy was necessarily a valuable source of theoretical material for Marx.

It is consequently no accident that Marx elaborated fundamental parts of his theory of economics for the first time in the course of his work on "Theories of Surplus-Value", for instance the theory of productive and unproductive labour, the theory of average profit and price of production, the theory of- land-rent, the theory of capitalist reproduction and the theory of crises.

The original structure of "Capital" was not at all in the form which we know today. In the course of his labours, Marx modified, and perfected it step by step until he ultimately achieved the layout which best corresponded to the brilliant content of his economic theory.

From the structure of "Capital", various stages can be distinguished in Marx's work. Nevertheless, by the 1840's, Marx had already divided his work on economics into two main parts: a theoretical part, in which a positive description of the subject of his work is given, and a part "which

is more historical ..."[3]

In 1857, in connection with the actual writing of "Grundrisse", he began to concern himself intensively with the layout of his "Economy". His first provisional plan was set out in his "Introduction, A contribution to the Critique of Political Economy" (written about the beginning of September 1857), which he never completed and which was originally intended as an introduction to his work on economics. "The disposition of material", wrote Marx, "has evidently to be made in such a way that (section) one comprises general abstract definitions, which therefore appertain in some measure to all social formations ... Two, the categories, which constitute the internal Structure of bourgeois society and on which the principal classes are based. Capital. wage-labour. landed property and their relations to one another. Town and country. The three large social classes: exchange between them. Circulation. The (private) credit system. Three: the State as the epitome of bourgeois society. Analysis of its relations to itself. The 'unproductive' classes. Taxes National debt. Public credit. Population. Colonies. Emigration. Four, international conditions of production. International division of labour. International exchange. Export and import. Rate of exchange. Five, World market and crises."[4]

In the "Chapter on money", Marx likewise puts forward a plan for the description of the theory: in the "first section", "exchange-values, money, prices" are to be examined.'" The internal structure of production forms ... the second section, the State as the epitome of this the -third, the international relationship the fourth, the world market the last one ..."[5]

At the beginning-of the"- Chapter on Money", however, Marx las already set out a detailed version :

" I. 1) General concept of capital.- 2) Special nature of capital : circulating capital., fixed capital. (Capital as food, as raw material, as instrument of labour 3) Capital as money. II. 1) Quantity of capital. Accumulation - 2) Capital measured against itself. Profit. Interest. Value of capital: capital as distinguished from itself as interest and profit. 3) The circulation of capitals. a) Exchange of capital for capital. Exchange of capital for revenue. Capital and prices. b) Competition of capitals. c) Concentration of capitals. III. Capital as credit. IV. - Capital as share-capital. V. Capital as money-market. VI. Capital as a source of wealth. The capitalist. Landed property would then be dealt with after capital. After this, wage-labour. After all three, the movement of prices as circulation determined in its inner totality. On the other side, the three classes as the three basic forms of production and the conditions of circulation. Then the State. (State and bourgeois society: - Taxes or the existence of the unproductive classes. - The national debt. - The population. - The State and its relations with other countries: colonies. Foreign trade. Rate of exchange. Money as international currency. - Finally. the world-market. Extension of bourgeois. society beyond the limits of the State. Crises. Disappearance of the mode of production and form of society based on exchange-value. Realistic definition of individual labour as social labour and vice-versa.) "[6]

This truly grandiose plan, drawn up in November .1857, indicates that Marx intended to explore all the important aspects of bourgeois society - up .to the conditions under which it could be abolished and replaced by a superior form of society, communism. The historical part is missing in this plan since only the logical structure of the theory of economics itself is given here. The section on capital is divided into six large parts, marked by Roman numerals. But a few pages further, Marx sets out another plan for the section on capital: Capital. I. General: 1) a) Development of capital from money. b) Capital and labour. c) The elements of capital, grouped according to their relationship with labour ... 2) Differentiation of capital: a) circulating capital, fixed capital ... 3) Individual features of capital: Capital and profit ... II. Special features: 1) Accumulation of capitals. 2) Competition of capitals. 3) Concentration of capitals. III. Individual features: 1) Capital as credit, 2) Capital as share-capital. 3) Capital as money-market."[7]

In the "General" section (Marx later called this section " Capital in general"), the arrangement of the material in three parts, which was subsequently to play such an important role in the structure of the theoretical part of "Capital", is already clearly outlined. This arrangement is still formulated in the terms of Hegel's "Logic". Two months, later, on or about 14th January 1858, Marx wrote to Engels that "In the method of treatment the fact that by mere accident I again glanced through Hegel's Logic has been of great service to me."[8] When we see how Marx evolved the structure of Capital", it is apparent that he gradually freed this structure from the philosophical scaffolding with which he had originally surrounded it.

On 22nd February 1858, Marx advised Lassalle of the plan for his work on economics which was to cover six books: "1) Capital (contains some introductory chapters). 2) Landed property. 3) Wage-Labour. 4) The State. 5) International Trade. 6) World Market." He then continues with these words : "Naturally, I cannot refrain from criticizing other economists now and then, and particularly not from polemicizing against Ricardo ... However, the critique and history of political economy and of socialism as a whole was to form the subject of another work. Finally, the brief historical sketch of the development of the economic categories, or relationships, was to be a third work."[9] This shows, therefore, that Marx intended even at this time to set out his work in a theoretical and in an historical part, the latter containing a section on the history of political economy and another on the history of economic categories and relations.

In his letter to Lassalle of 11th March 1858, Marx set out the plan for the first volume of his work on economics : "1. Value, 2. Money, 3. Capital in general (production-process of capital, circulation-process of capital, unity of the two or capital and profit, interest)." Marx then writes that "It is not at all my intention to write all six books, into which I shall divide the work, at a uniform level but in the three latter ones to give just the general facts whilst in the first three, which contain the actual basic development in economics it will not he possible to avoid detailed explanations in every case."[10]

This version of the plan is interesting in that it contains an exact arrangement of the section on "Capital in general" which Marx subsequently used as a basis for the arrangement of the whole of the theoretical part of his work in three volumes. It may also be noted that Marx now reduced the scope of his task somewhat. This is indicated by his intention not to go into the same degree of detail in all six volumes.

In the letter to Engels of 2. April 1858, Marx lists these six books and divides the content of the first book - "About Capital" - into four sections : "a) Capital in general b) Competition, or the action of the many capitals upon one another. c) Credit, where capital appears as the general element as opposed to individual capitals. d) Share-capital as the most perfect form (leading to communism) together with all its contradictions."[11]

In a detailed plan of the first volume, "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy ", which Marx sent to Weydemeyer on 1 February 1859, historical digressions are added to the first chapter and to various sub-sections of the second. The chapter on "The Commodity" carries "Historical Notes on the Analysis of Commodities", the sub-section on the "Measure of Value" the digression "Theories on the Standard of Money" and the sub-section "The Precious Metals" the digression on "Theories of the Medium of Circulation and of.Money".[12] This plan was then also used by Marx in "A Contribution to. the Critique of Political Economy" which was published shortly afterwards. He pursued this idea of distributing the historical and critical material among the theoretical sections of his work in the course of the whole of his labours on the manuscript of 1861/63. The draft-plans drawn up in January 1863 for the first and third parts of "Capital" are evidence of this.[13]

Thus, in the years between 1858 and 1862, Marx worked out the plan for a work on economics covering six volumes. Summing up all the remarks which he made regarding this question, one obtains the following plan of his work on economics.

Plan of 'A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy' as outlined by Marx  between 1858 and 1862

In the first volume of "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy ", Marx was only able to put the first part of this plan into effect, i.e., the introduction: The Commodity and Money.

When he then began work on the manuscript of 1861/63, he started - following this plan - with the chapter on the conversion of money into capital, i.e., with the first chapter of the section on the production-process of capital. It was Marx's intention to use the "Theories on Surplus-Value" as a concluding historical digression for this section in the same way that he had added the historical notes to the chapters on the commodity and money in the first volume of "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy".

It may be said that the beginning of the work on "Theories of Surplus-Value" marked a turning point in Marx's economic investigations.

In fact, the "Theories of Surplus-Value" is the start of Marx's direct work on "Capital". At this time, Marx had not yet thought of dividing the entire work into four volumes with "Capital" as the general title. This idea gradually emerged in the course of his labours on " Theories of Surplus-Value ". It was only towards the end of 1862 that Marx chose "Capital" as the title. This is shown by his letter to Kugelmann of 28th December 1862 in which he tells of his intention to publish the continuation of the first volume of "A. Contribution to the Critique of. Political Economy" in the form of a separate book With the title of "Capital" and the sub-title of "A Contribution to the Critique of. Political Economy."[14]

Thus it was right at the end of his work on "Theories of Surplus-Value" that Marx thought of writing" Capital" as a coherent work.

In August 1863 he returned to his original plan of writing the historical part of his work in a separate volume. In the letter of 15th August 1863, Marx informed Engels of his work on "Theories of Surplus-Value" and noted that ". . . when I now look at the concoction and see how I had to change .everything and even had to put the historical part together from material which was in part quite unknown …"[15] Here, for the first time, he calls "Theories of Surplus-Value" the "historical part" of his work on economics.

After this, Marx regarded the manuscript of "Theories of Surplus-Value" as the first version of the fourth and last volume of "Capital".

Although it was only from 1863 onwards that Marx regarded "Theories of Surplus-Value" as the fourth volume of "Capital", it can still be said that right from the start the work on "Theories of Surplus-Value" was work on the fourth volume of "Capital". In the course of this work, Marx modified his original intentions to a considerable extent and greatly increased the scope of his investigations. The critical analysis of the views of the bourgeois economists on surplus-value was linked with the analysis of their ideas on profit, rent and so on. Furthermore, in critical confrontation with bourgeois political economy, Marx was obliged to explain one or other of the sections of his own theory on economics which, as we know, he had not yet completed at this time.

The consequence of all this was that a notable expansion took place in the range of problems under investigation by Marx. The historical digression of "Theories on Surplus-Value" reached an enormous length (about 110 printed sheets) and became a critical investigation of the whole history of development of bourgeois political economy. Finally, it occurred to him that the whole of the historical and critical material had to be put together in a separate volume as the, fourth book of "Capital". At the same time, in the course of the work on the manuscript of 1861/63, the decisive importance of the arrangement of the material in three parts, which at first Marx had only intended for the chapter on "Capital in general", became increasingly apparent. Marx gradually arranged the whole of the material in "Capital" in these three groups. Thus, on 18th June 1862, he informed Engels about the progress of his investigations: ". . I am stretching out this volume . . . By the way, I am now at long last through with that sickening ground rent (which I do not want even to hint at in this part). "[16] But a month and a half later, on 2nd August 1862, he had already changed his mind : "I now intend after all to include the theory of rent by putting in a chapter in this volume."[17] According to the original plan, the theory of rent was to have been the subject of the second book ("Landed Property "). It was now Marx's intention to 'include it in the first section (" Capital in general") of the first book (" About Capital").

In the letter to Kugelmann of 28th December 1862, to which reference has already been made, and where it was mentioned that the second part of "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy" was to be published under the title of "Capital", Marx wrote the following about the content of this second part : "Really it only deals with those matters which should form the third chapter of the first section, namely, capital in general, and does not therefore include the competition of capitals or the credit system. This volume contains what the English call the principles of political economy. It is the quintessence (together with the first part) and the development of the rest (with the exception perhaps of the relations of different state forms to different economic structures of society) could be easily accomplished by others on the basis thus provided."[18] Regarding his further plans, Marx stated that he intended "either to write the continuation, that is, the conclusion to my treatment of capital, competition and credit, in German, or else to combine the first two books into one volume for the English public ..."[19]

These lines indicate that Marx at this time had already definitely abandoned the idea of writing six books and had almost made up his mind to restrict himself to the first section of the first book, the section on "Capital in general". This section was to be divided into three parts : "Production-process of capital", "Circulation-process of capital" and "-Unity of the two, or Capital and Profit".

In the same letter, he also remarks that "Capital" comprised about 30 printed sheets. In actual fact, however, there are about five times as many sheets as this in the three volumes of "Capital ".

This is the best evidence that Marx, in the period following, really did include in the section on "Capital in general" many of the problems which were actually intended to be the subject of the following sections of the first book and the other volumes of his work on economics. This is how the plan of "Capital" was evolved in the course of Marx's work on the manuscript of 1861/63, this is how the three theoretical parts took shape while "Theories of Surplus-Value", by reason of its structure and content, became the fourth volume of "Capital".

As a whole, the Manuscript of 1861/63 represents the rough draft of all four volumes of "Capital". Between 1864 and 1865, Marx rewrote the first three volumes of "Capital" while the historical part retained the original form in which it had been written between 1862 and 1863. Consequently, on account of the new arrangement of the first three books, this part had to be revised. In his letter of 31 July 1865, Marx informed Engels about the course of the work on "Capital" : "Three chapters still have to be written to complete the theoretical part (the first three books). Then there is still the fourth book, the historical and literary part, which has to be written which is relatively the easiest part for me since all the questions are solved in the first three books, this last one is therefore more a repetition in historical form."[20] Marx never succeeded in rewriting the fourth book but nevertheless regarded the manuscript of "Theories of Surplus-Value" as the concluding, historical part of "Capital".

In the letter to Siegmund Schott of 3rd November 1877, Marx wrote the following words in connection with this: "Confidentially, I indeed began "Capital" in exactly the opposite .sequence (beginning with the third and historical part) to which it was submitted to the public, only with the quali-

118fication that the Ist volume, which was started last, was prepared for printing straightaway whilst the two others remained in the rough form which all research has at the beginning ..."[21]

One year before the publication of the first volume of "Capital", Marx gave the first clear outline of the •new structure of "Capital" in his letter to Kugelmann of 13th October 1866 : "The whole work is divided as follows :

Book I. The Production Process of Capital.

Book II. Circulation Process of Capital.

Book III. Form of the Process as a Whole.

Book IV. Contribution to the History of Economic Theory."[22]

This is, in as few words as possible, the history of the structure of "Capital", the most fearful missile ever "hurled at the heads of the bourgeoisie (landed proprietors included) ".[23] But for this missile to be really fearful for the, bourgeoisie it had to be not only filled with explosive of the necessary destructive power but also had to be given a shape which ensured the necessary power of penetration. It may certainly be asserted that "Capital" owes its immortality to both its brilliant content and its wonderful form.

The efforts which it cost-Marx to achieve this form have been described. It is appropriate here to stress just once more the already obvious fact that Marx worked out the structure of "Capital" at the same time as he elaborated the actual theory of economics. This is understandable, too. Form cannot be separated from content.

If we wish to see in more detail how Marx evolved the logical' structure of ." Capital", it is necessary to spend somewhat more time on the question of why Marx began with the historical part when he started writing his work on economics. This brings us back to the method which Marx used in his investigation of capitalist reality:

In the "Introduction" for "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy", Marx characterizes the method of scientific research as a "method of advancing from the abstract to the concrete" which leads from abstract definitions to the reproduction of the concrete in thinking. Advancing from the abstract to the concrete has the converse process as a basic condition: the transition from the concrete fact in the idea to the simplest abstract definitions.

This method is materialistic because it takes the; concrete not as the result but as the presupposition, the point of departure, for research. Marx stresses that advancing from the abstract to the concrete is the method by which to assimilate the concrete but "This is, however, by no means the process of evolution of the concrete world itself."[24]

The starting point for Marx, theory of economics was capitalist reality itself. Lenin observed that "Capital" contained the "history of capitalism and the analysis of the terms summarizing it".[25] The history of capitalism, of capitalist production-relations, is the source of Marx's theory. Marx found the reflection of this history in the history of bourgeois political economy, "The development of political economy ", as Engels wrote when explaining Marx's method of enquiry, "constituted a natural clue, which the critique could take as a point of departure, and then the economic categories would appear on the whole in the same order as in the logical exposition." in this, it is "the actual development" which is traced.[26]

Naturally, the development of the science of economics does not at all correspond exactly to the development of economic reality. It has its peculiarities which caused Marx, in "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy ", to note that "Science, unlike other architects, builds not only castles in the air, but may construct separate habitable storeys of the building before laying the foundation stone."[27] But the zig-zag and contradictory development of science does not prevent the history of political economy, in one way or another, from reflecting the history of the economic development of society. This only means that a particularly critical approach must be employed in analysing the history of political economy.

That the development of the science reflects the development of economic reality is confirmed by Marx in the letter to Kugelmann of 11th July 1868: "On the other hand ..., the history of the economic theory certainly shows that the concept of the value relation has always been the same, whether more or less clear, hedged with illusions or scientifically precise. Since the thought process itself grows out of the conditions, is itself a natural process, thinking that really comprehends must always be the same, and can only vary gradually according to maturity of development, including that of the organ by which the thinking is done."[28] It is obvious that Marx is referring here to classic bourgeois political economy, the outstanding figures of which represent the "thinking that really comprehends". In these lines, Marx sets out the materialist thesis that scientific theory reflects reality and the history of the theory the development of this reality, including as well the development of thinking as a part of reality.

When Marx began to elaborate his theory of economics, he had to start with a critical historical investigation since his theory and its theses had to be substantiated by the historical reproduction of the theory. We may recall here once more the noteworthy spot in the epilogue to the second edition of the first volume of "Capital" where Marx characterizes the difference between the method of inquiry and the method of presentation. "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 he 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."[29] The critical historical analysis of the development of the science, the historical reproduction of the theory, is of enormous importance when it is a question of assimilating the subject-matter and of analyzing its different forms of development.

A critical analysis of the: history of bourgeois political economy shows that Marx's economic theory solved all the contradictions in which bourgeois economy had become entangled and provided an answer to all the questions which the entire course of development of human society had already put on the agenda. This is also the historical proof of the correctness of Marxist theory.

Properly speaking, the advance from the abstract to the concrete also reflects the actual historical process. "The procedure of abstract reasoning which advances from the simplest to more complex concepts writes Marx, ". . . conforms to actual historical development."[30] Reasoning which advances from the abstract to the concrete is therefore correct because it corresponds to the historical development of economic reality. This is reinforced still further by the fact that at every stage of this advance reference can be made to the reflection of this actual process in the history of the science itself.

The history of political economy, as described in the fourth volume of "Capital" (in "Theories of Surplus-Value"), chiefly shows how Marx's theory of surplus-value developed. Naturally, as far as the method and manner in which he investigates the historical subject-matter is concerned, Marx first abstracts at every stage from the concrete categories which express the character of the capitalist mode of production. Any other approach was not even possible since Marx was always obliged to take this or that bourgeois economist as his basis. However, not a single bourgeois economist had been able to isolate the category of surplus-value, for instance, in its pure form. This transition from the concrete to the abstract at every individual stage of inquiry is associated with the advance from the abstract to the concrete in the process as a whole. This is also the case with the fourth volume of "Capital". In accordance with the nature of the subject and as in the first three volumes, the reasoning here advances from the abstract to the concrete, only with the difference that the problems are described from the historical viewpoint.

In the first part of "Theories of Surplus-Value ", most attention is paid to a critical historical investigation of the problem of exchange between labour and capital on the basis of the law of value. This corresponds to an analysis of value and by and large to that of surplus-value as well in the first volume of "Capital ".

In "Theories of Surplus-Value", this analysis concludes with the examination of the attempt of the bourgeois economists to describe the capitalist mode of production as a whole; this corresponds to. the analysis of the capitalist reproduction-process in the second volume of "Capital". In the other parts of "Theories of Surplus-Value", Marx investigates how surplus-value is converted into profit, how the general profit-rate is formed and how the price of production is related to the value; this corresponds to the transition from surplus-value to profit, from profit to average profit and from value to price of production in the third volume of "Capital". Finally, in the concluding part of "Theories of Surplus-Value", he investigates the process of vulgarization of bourgeois political economy and this corresponds to the critique of vulgar economy in the third volume of "Capital".

If the structure of "Theories of Surplus-Value" is examined more closely, it is naturally apparent that this is only roughly comparable with the structure of the first three volumes of "Capital". Indeed, the range of problems examined in the first volume of "Capital" is dealt with not only in the first but also in the second and third parts of "Theories of Surplus-Value". Thus in the tenth chapter of the second part of "Theories of Surplus-Value", for instance, Marx investigates how value is determined by labour-time, i.e., the main thesis of Ricardo's theory. He shows how Ricardo is confused on the question of absolute and relative value and how he fails to appreciate the nature of the form of value. In the fifteenth chapter, Marx explains that the problem of exchange between labour and capital is insoluble in the way in which it is formulated by Ricardo. He also shows that Ricardo confuses labour and labour-power and does not analyze the origin of surplus-value. In the eighteenth chapter, Marx devotes great attention to the capitalist application of machinery. In almost every chapter of the third part of "Theories of Surplus-Value", Marx discusses problems of the first volume Of "Capital" such as value, constant and variable capital, wages and so on. Lastly. in the second and third parts of "Theories of Surplus-Value'.', there are sections relating to the analysis of the capitalist mode of production as a whole and to the analysis of capitalist reproduction. The explanation of all this is that Marx, when he investigates the views of a bourgeois economist, always has to -analyze the entire system of the latter. This circumstance, however, does not at all alter the fact that the internal structure of the historical part largely reproduces the structure of the theoretical part of Marx's work.

But when the structure of "Theories of Surplus-Value", which reflects the history of the internal development of bourgeois political economy, reproduces the development of Marx's economic theory from the historical aspect, the subject-matter of the fourth volume of "Capital" is a major contribution to the historical substantiation of this theory.

It the same way as description progresses from the first to the second and third volumes of "Capital", capitalist relations of production "approach step by step the form which they assume on the surface of society, in the action of different capitals upon one another, in competition, and in the ordinary consciousness of the agents of production themselves ".[31] The historical part of "Capital" also completes the advance to the surface of bourgeois society since it provides critical proof of how capitalist relations of production are reflected in the heads of the apologists of this society, in the heads of the bourgeois economists. Naturally, individual representatives of bourgeois political economy described capitalist reality and capitalist production-relations in various ways. The vulgar economists - deliberately or unintentionally - stay on the surface of economic relations, but the classical economists succeeded to a certain degree in penetrating the economic processes in depth and in tracing the internal relationship of the phenomena. Marx always assessed this very highly.

In the historical part of "Capital", Marx follows the interpretation of the laws of capitalism by bourgeois ideologists. He considers the progress of bourgeois political economy as a reflection of the progress of bourgeois society itself and of its internal contradictions. For the understanding of the natural laws of capitalism in all their aspects, Marx also had to explain how the base influences the superstructure and how capitalist reality is reflected in the ideological sphere, especially in the science of economics.

All this explains why the critical analysis of the history of political economy - although it was for Marx an important starting point for the elaboration of his theory of economics - is at the same time the necessary completion of the theoretical structure which he put together in the first three volumes of "Capital".


[1] K. Marx, letter to Engels of 20 February 1866, in: K.Marx/F. Engels, Werke, Bd. 31, p. 183.

[2] K. Marx, Capital, Vol. I, l.c., p. 80 (footnote 1).

[3] K. Marx, letter to Leske of 1 August 1846, in: K.Marx/F. Engels, Werke, Bd. 27, p. 450. Cf. also ibid., p. 448 f.

[4] K. Marx, Introduction, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, l.c., p214.

[5] K. Marx, Grundrisse der Kritik der politischen Íkonomie, l.c., p.138 f.

[6] Ibid., p. 175.

[7] Ibid., p. 186.

[8] K. Mars. letter to Engels, written about 14 January 1858, in: Marx/Engels, Selected Correspondence, l.c., p. 121.

[9] K. Marx., letter to Lassalle of 22 February 1858, in: K.Marx/F. Engels, Selected Correspondence, l.c., p.121

[10] K. Marx, letter to Lassalle of 11 March 1858, in: K. Marx/F. Engels, Werke, Bd. 29, p. 574.

[11] K. Marx, letter to Engels of 2 April 1858, in: K.Marx/F. Engels, Selected Correspondence, 1. c., p. 125.

[12] Cf. K. Marx, letter to Weydemeyer of 1 February 1859, in: K. Marx/E. Engels, Werke, Bd. 29, p. 573.

[13] Ct. K. Marx, Theorien uber den Mehrwert, 1. Teil, 1. c., p. 377 f.

[14] Cf. K. Marx, letter to Kugelmann of 28 December 1862, in: K. Marx, Letters to Dr. Kugelmann, l.c., p.. 23.

[15] K. Marx, letter to Engels of 15 August 1863. in: K" Marx/F. Engels, Werke, Bd. p. 308.

[16] K. Marx, fetter to Engels of 18 June 1862, in: K.Marx/F. Engels, Selected Correspondence, 1. c., p. 156.

[17] K. Marx, letter to Engels of 2 August 1862, in: K. Marx/F. Engels, Werke, Bd. 30, p. 283.

[18] K. Marx. letter to Kugelmann of 28 December 1862, in: K. Marx, Letters to Dr. Kugelmann, l.c., p.. 23.

[19] Ibid., p. 24.

[20] K. Marx, letter to Engels of 31 July 1865, in: K. Marx/F. Engels, Werke, Bd. 31, p. 132,

[21] K. Marx, letter to Schott of 3 November 1877, in: K. Marx/E, Engels, Letters on Capital Bd, 34, p. 235. (Marx calls the historical part the third here because at this time, 1877, he intended to publish the second and third books of "Capital " in one volume, the second, While the fourth book, the "History of Economic Theory", was to be the third volume..

[22] K. Marx, letter to Kugelmann of 13 October 1866, in: K. Marx, Letters to Dr. Kugelmann, 1. c., p. 43.

[23] K. Marx, letter to Becker of 17 April 1867, in: K. Marx/F. Engels, Werke, Bd. p. 541.

[24] K. Marx. Introduction, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, 1. c., p. 206.

[25] V. I, Lenin, Philosophische Hefte, in: Werke, Bd. 38, p. 319.

[26] F. Engels, Earl Marx, "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy", 1. c., p.225.

[27] K. Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, 1. c., p. 57,

[28] K. Marx, letter to Kugelmann of 11 July 1868, in: K. Marx, Letters to Dr. Kugelmann, 1. c.,p. 73.

[29] K. Marx. Capital, Vol. I, Afterword to the 2nd German edition, l.c., p.. 19.

[30] K. Marx, Introduction, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, 1. c., p. 208.

[31] K. Marx, Capital, Vol.III, l.c., p. 25.