What is Hindi meaning of the word capital
Das Kapital - A book that should change the world
When the first volume of Karl Marx's main work "Das Kapital - Critique of Political Economy" was published in September 1867 by Otto Meissner's Hamburg publishing house, there was little to suggest the later significance of this book for the course of human history. It is a cumbersome and difficult to read text, both in terms of content and style a challenge for the readers.
The author already suspected that. In the preface, Marx warned his readers: "Every beginning is difficult", and his wife Jenny advised a socialist friend to simply skip "the dialectical nuances of the first sections". The first edition of 1000 copies took years before it was sold out.
Published 150 years ago
Nevertheless, 150 years later, "Das Kapital", the second and third parts of which were only published after the author's death, is considered to be one of the most influential books in modern history - although it can still be doubted that many who refer to the book, actually read it too. At the height of the socialist and communist movements in the 1970s, governments in 60 countries around the world invoked the teachings of Karl Marx. For around two thirds of the world's population, "Das Kapital" was raised to the rank of an almost holy book.
A philosopher is waiting for the revolution
Such canonization and the personality cult that goes with it was alien to Marx; he once said that he himself was not a "Marxist". But his intention was definitely to write a "book of books". As a philosopher, in keeping with his role model Georg Wilhelm Hegel, Marx wanted to "bring an epoch to the fore and thus end it," explains Croatian philosopher and political scientist Zarko Puhovski. It is about the bourgeoisie as the last era of a class society. "Marx is convinced that history ends with the bourgeois epoch and a new era begins, which ultimately ends in communism, that is, in a society in which classes are abolished," says Puhovski.
Marx tries to analyze the mechanism of a capitalist economy with the concepts of political economy. The worker sells his labor to the capitalist and receives a wage for it. The difference between the value he has created and his wages is surplus value. The capitalist tries to keep wages as low as possible in order to maximize surplus value. For Marx, the core principle of capitalism is the constant and unchecked generation of this surplus value, and thus also the exploitation of the workers. This exploitation, he concluded, will eventually become so intolerable that workers will rebel and overthrow capitalism.
Frozen into a monument: the Marx-Engels Forum in front of the "Palace of the Republic" in Berlin, which has since been demolished.
What Marx Overlooked
This conclusion is based on a mistake, says Bernd Ziesemer, journalist and former editor-in-chief of the business newspaper Handelsblatt: "Marx saw work as the only source of value and overlooked the fact that capitalism is not through the exploitation of workers, but through a continuous, Technical progress works. He underestimated the other sources of wealth, namely innovation, entrepreneurship and technical progress, at the core of his theory, "says Ziesemer.
Some of the social developments predicted by Marx did not materialize. The advancing industrialization and a permanent technologicalization of the production processes led to steadily falling production costs and a shortening of the working hours, but a simultaneous increasing impoverishment and impoverishment of the workers did not go hand in hand with it.
Capitalism turned out to be extremely versatile and adaptable, emphasizes Zarko Puhovski, "so that in the meantime a so-called leisure industry has also emerged in leisure time - which was completely unimaginable in Marx's time".
Where Marx was right
But Marx's analysis of capital was not wrong on all points. For example, his description of capitalism as a permanent process in which money is repeatedly accumulated and reinvested is more relevant today than ever. It was precisely this dynamic that led to the global financial and economic crisis a few years ago.
His description of the inevitable tendency of capital to monopolize also turned out to be correct: According to data from the Federal Statistical Office from 2012, large corporations made up only one percent of companies in Germany, but they generated 68 percent of total sales. At the same time, 81 percent of all companies were small businesses, which together only made six percent of sales.
A gift from afar: Trier, the birthplace of Karl Marx, will receive a memorial from China for its 200th birthday
A thought leader in globalization
Marx's thesis of the unjust distribution of profit is also more topical than ever. In 2014, the French economist Thomas Piketty showed in his globally successful book "Capital in the 21st Century" that the steadily growing and excessive inequality of wealth and income is a necessary characteristic of global capital.
It was already clear to Marx that capitalism, by nature, knows no limits in terms of its expansion and effect. Business journalist Bernd Ziesemer emphasizes that there are passages in "Capital" and also in the "Communist Manifesto" in which Marx speaks about the global triumph of capitalism leading to the disappearance of everything traditional. Therefore, "we can understand Karl Marx as the first real theorist of globalization," Ziesemer is convinced.
Capital has won
However, as is well known, there was no world revolution, and when it came to major revolutionary overturns, it was above all in the underdeveloped, pre-industrial peasant states. Nevertheless, revolutionaries all over the world appealed to Marx without paying much attention to the premises on which his theory is based.
This also applies to the role of Marx in China, says Ziesemer: "I believe that to a large extent Chinese Marxism developed without precise knowledge of the work of Karl Marx." And Marx should not be held responsible for the crimes of the Stalinist regime either: "Of course, Marxism-Leninism with Soviet influences is also based on thoughts of Karl Marx. But I would not want to draw a straight line from Karl Marx to the Soviet mass killing in the 1930s "says Ziesemer.
The real failure of Karl Marx, however, does not lie in the crimes that were also committed in his name, emphasizes the Croatian philosopher Zarko Puhovski. Marx was convinced that a collapse of capitalism from within was inevitable and would happen soon. But that didn't happen. Even 150 years after the publication of the first volume of "Das Kapital", social tensions are just as present as class differences, exploitation is still the basis of the prevailing relations of production. "Marx's failure lies in the fact that it is still relevant," says Puhovski.
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