It is in this third volume that Marx sets out his central, epoch-making thesis that "the basic laws of motion of the capitalists mode of production lead to explosive crises and its ultimate collapse". Here we find not only a sustained economic and social description of capitalism as a system and the bourgeoisie as a class but a full statement of why declining rates of profit and periodic crises of overproduction spell the inevitable end of capitalism and the likely birth of a far better society. Published by Engels in 1894, this book has remained a potent source of inspiration ever since.
Karl Marx was born in 1818 in Trier, Germany and studied in Bonn and Berlin. Influenced by Hegel, he later reacted against idealist philosophy and began to develop his own theory of historical materialism. He related the state of society to its economic foundations and mode of production, and recommended armed revolution on the part of the proletariat. Together with Engels, who he met in Paris, he wrote the Manifesto of the Communist Party. He lived in England as a refugee until his death in 1888, after participating in an unsuccessful revolution in Germany. Ernst Mandel was a member of the Belgian TUV from 1954 to 1963 and was chosen for the annual Alfred Marshall Lectures by Cambridge University in 1978. He died in 1995 and the Guardian described him as 'one of the most creative and independent-minded revolutionary Marxist thinkers of the post-war world.'
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