henry heller on marx’s capital as history


Henry Heller, ‘Marx’s Capital as History’, International Critical Thought 4, 1 (2014).

David Harvey asserts that Marx’s Capital is devoted to a rigorous examination of capitalism as an economic system. According to Harvey, history as such is for the most part absent. The following analysis acknowledges that the economics of capitalism is fundamental to Marx’s great work. But in Capital Marx shows that capital’s development itself is based on the evolving relationship of capitalists and workers over the long term. Therefore its workings cannot be understood unless viewed historically. Capital—its origins, development and eventual demise—is accordingly the historical protagonist of this great opus. The one chapter of Capital which Marx explicitly designated as historical—chapter 10 “On the Limits of the Working Day”—was meant to demonstrate that the growth of the working class—the emergence of its consciousness and capacity for political struggle—was itself the result of the evolution of capitalism from manufacture into large-scale industry.

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