How Capitalism Works

How Capitalism Works

An introductory book on Marxian economics. Studies the workings of capitalism, and the relation of labor, profit, money, government, and class in terms of Marxist economic theory.


In recent years I have often been asked: "Can you tell us of a book or pamphlet which offers a clear and simple analysis of the capitalist economic and social system, which penetrates its mechanisms and presents a concise overall view?” This question has arisen at lecture-discussions, seminars, and in private conversations. It has been posed as often by workers as by students, as often by intellectual petty bourgeois as by activists in radical organizations. The people asking these questions already had a critical view of the capitalist system, however intuitive or limited this view might be. They felt the need of easily accessible but scientific information, not only for the satisfaction of learning, but to put political or trade union action on a sound basis.

The question was obviously, if not always explicitly, about a good popular Marxist work. It is notable nowadays that many people who still have instinctive doubts about the materialist philosophy nevertheless turn to it for an economic, social, and political critique of capitalism. I did not know of any such book or pamphlet. The few attempts in this direction seem to me both incomplete and dogmatic, and too abstract and academically worded to please my inquirers. Although I may not be the most suitable person for such a task, that is why I eventually undertook it myself.

Thus, it is the purpose of this book to be accessible to any person who has had no preparation in its field. Yet it is my ambition to give a coherent view of capitalist society, which omits nothing essential, but is restricted to the fundamental structure and mechanisms. I have taken pains not to betray the Marxist analysis by condensing it, and to avoid dishonest simplification on the pretext of writing for beginners. It is clear that these considerations cannot be entirely reconciled, and I was aware at the start that success could at best be partial. I shall be satisfied, however, if the reader closes the book feeling better equipped for the struggle against a system that must now be overthrown. That was my sole purpose in writing it.

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Feb 12 2020 06:49


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