_A CONTRIBUTION TO THE CRITIQUE OF POLITICAL ECONOMY_ (German : _Zur Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie_) is a book by Karl Marx , first published in 1859. The book is mainly an analysis of capitalism and quantity theory of money , achieved by critiquing the writings of the leading theoretical exponents of capitalism at that time: these were the political economists , nowadays often referred to as the classical economists ; Adam Smith (1723–90) and David Ricardo (1772–1823) are the foremost representatives of the genre.
* 1 Significance * 2 Editions * 3 Notes * 4 References
Much of the _Critique_ was later incorporated by Marx into his magnum opus, _Capital_ (Volume I) , published in 1867, and the _Critique_ is generally considered to be of secondary importance among Marx's writings. This does not apply, however, to the Preface of the _Critique_. It contains the first connected account of one of Marx's main theories: the economic interpretation of history . Briefly, this is the idea that economic factors – the way people produce the necessities of life – conditions the kind of politics and ideology a society can have:
"The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond (_entsprechen_) definite forms of social consciousness . The mode of production of material life conditions (_bedingt_) the general process of social, political and intellectual life."
In English, _A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy_ is available in an edition edited by Maurice Dobb , published in London in 1979; and from Progress Publishers , Moscow (translation by S.W. Ryazanskaya). Lawrence and Wishart (London), and International Publishers (New York) cooperate in the publication of the Progress Publishers edition. It is also available free online.
* ^ _A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy_, Chapter II, 3 * ^ Otto Ruhle ("The Materialist Interpretation of History", in Ruhle (1943)) says that the "Preface" contained "the first connected account" of Marx's economic interpretation of history. * ^ Michael Evans, _Karl Marx_, p. 61. Evans refers to the "Preface" as "the classic account of his general conclusions" in history, and also pointed out (p. 52) that "Marx never published a general systematic treatise detailing his views as an ordered whole. The nearest he came to this is in the first volume of _Capital_, and in the "Preface" to the _Critique of Political Economy_." * ^ On-line version available at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/index.htm
* Evans, Michael (2013). _Karl Marx_. London: Routledge. First published 1975, London: Allen and Unwin. * Ruhle, Otto (1943). _Karl Marx: His Life and Works_. New York, 1943. First published, New York, 1929.
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* _ Scorpion and Felix _ (1837) * _