The Origin of Das Kapital and the Conceptual and Problematic Structure of Marx’s Critique of Political Economy

Mikołaj Ratajczak

The aim of this text is to analyse the origin of Volume I of Das Kapital. I discuss the subsequent manuscripts of Marx’s project to critically present the social reality of capitalist societies. I’m trying to show, how Marx, while developing his method of a critique of political economy, worked also on the presentation of the effects of this critique, on the clarification of the scope of his research and how he changed the order of the content of the entire project. Thence the article is not an analysis of the historical aspect of Marx’s work on Das Kapital, but an attempt to present the main assumptions, goals and ideas of his critique of political economy. Moreover, the text also discusses the effects of the collective work on the new edition of Marx’s and Engel’s collected works (MEGA2) and the importance of these effects for the contemporary studies on Marx’s thought.


Keywords: Marx • Das Kapital • critique of political economy • dialectics • Marxism

Mikołaj Ratajczak – philosopher, translator and editor. Assistant Professor in the Research Group on Philosophy of Culture in the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, visiting lecturer in Kolegium Artes Liberales (Warsaw University) and a member of the editorial collective of the online academic journal for Marxist and Critical Theory “Praktyka Teoretyczna” [Theoretical Practice]. He authored publications on the relation between political philosophy, philosophy of language and philosophy of subject in Polish, English and Italian. Translator of, i.a., Resultate des unmittelbaren Produktionsprozesses by Karl Marx and (together with the Praktyka Teoretyczna collective) Commonwealth by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.   »  

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