Study Guide to Capital Volume I

Below you will find, organized by Part and Chapter, my "study guide" to Volume I of Capital. If you want a quick overview of the whole book, click on each Part, sequentially, starting with Part VIII and then Parts I through VII for brief summaries. For each chapter you will find an outline of Marx's argument followed by my commentary on the text and on the subject matter. Some of those commentaries provide explanations. Some provide a critique of what I view as wrongheaded interpretations of his work. Some provide an elaboration and extension to other places, times, or parallel phenomena. You will find criticisms of Marx's own work, and suggestions of what needs to be done to go beyond his work. To illuminate these commentaries you will find a variety of songs (with lyrics), and excerpts from poems and literature, some from popular culture, some from the classical "canon".

A guide to the songs is available for easy reference. The links to YouTube versions of the songs generally open in a new tab. This allows you to listen to the songs on the new tab but switch back to the study guide tab to read the lyrics while listening. (Just in case you, like me, have a hard time understanding some sung lyrics.)

You should read these commentaries critically and ask yourself how you might do them differently.

Please Note:

This study guide is undergoing revision. The revision involves the integration into the guide of changes made during the process of distilling it into a book for Pluto Press. That distillation involved both the deletion of illustrations, images, song lyrics, course-related materials AND the creation of a new treatment of Chapter 1 to replace the text of my book Reading Capital Politically originally provided here as commentary on that chapter. Integration of new material from the Pluto Press book (titled 33 Lessons on CAPITAL: Reading Marx Politically involves both modification of the text and making available (through hyperlinks) the footnotes contstructed for the book. Once I have revised a chapter treatment to take into account the new material from the new book, I'll so signal with NEW!

NEW! Part VIII: So-called Primitive Accumulation

NEW! Part I: Commodities and Money

NEW! Part II: The Transformation of Money into Capital

NEW! Part III: The Production of Absolute Surplus-Value

NEW! Part IV: The Production of Relative Surplus-Value

NEW! Part V: The Production of Absolute and Relative Surplus-Value

NEW! Part VI: Wages

NEW! Part VII: The Process of Accumulation of Capital