Indeed, this "forgotten" volume, suggests Ernest Mandel in his stimulating Introduction, occupies a "key place in the monumental theoretical construction". For it is here that Marx analyses in depth the specific problems of the commodity - the basic cell of capitalist wealth - and fills in his picture of the market and the nature of value and surplus-value. That in turn allows him to show why capitalist growth will always be "uneven, disproportionate and unharmonious" and to formulate his "awe-inspiring prediction, borne out by empirical evidence ever since," about "the only possible remedy for economic crises of over-production and social crises of class struggle". The result is a work of immense power and subtlety, one of the greatest achievments in the whole of social science.
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