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York University

GS/POLS 6060 3.0 M (F) – GS/SPTH 6200 3.0

Appropriating Marx’s Capital II

Fall 2011

Course Director: Marcello Musto

Lecture Time: Tue, 17:30 – 20.30

Class Location: Ross Building, S 674

Office Location: Ross Building, S 816 Office Hours: Tue. 15:30-16:30

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: 416 – 736 2100, Ext. 20241

Course Syllabus

Two decades after 1989, when he was too hastily consigned to oblivion, Karl Marx has returned to the limelight. In the last few years Capital has not merely received the attention of university professors, but has also been the focus of widespread interest prompted by the international financial crisis, as leading daily and weekly papers throughout the world have been discussing the contemporary relevance of its pages. Furthermore, the literature dealing with Marx, which all but dried up 20 years ago, is showing signs of revival in many countries; and there are now, once again, many international conferences and university courses dedicated to his analysis of capitalism.

Though among the most important books of the last 150 years, Karl Marx’s Capital nevertheless represents an incomplete project. Marx himself was only able to publish the first volume (1867) in his lifetime; volumes two (1885) and three (1894) were prepared for publication by Friedrich Engels. Moreover, after Engels’ death, many of Capital’s preparatory manuscripts were published by others, still some of which provided valuable further elucidations of Marx’s theoretical project, sometimes significantly changing previous interpretations (e.g., Theories of Surplus Value, edited by Karl Kautsky, in three volumes between 1905 and 1910, and the Grundrisse, published by the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute of Moscow between 1939-41).

Marx’s notebooks of excerpts and preparatory manuscripts for the second and third volumes of Capital are now being published in German under the auspices of the Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²) project. The former include not only material from the books he read but also the reflections they stimulated in him; they reveal the trajectory of his thought and the sources on which he drew in developing his own ideas. The publication of all the Capital manuscripts, and all the editorial revisions made by Engels (to be completed in German in 2012), enable a reliable critical evaluation of the extent of Engels’s input into the published editions of Volumes Two and Three.

In the light of the philological acquisitions of MEGA², this course aims to reconstruct all the stages of Marx’s critique of political economy (starting from Parisian studies of 1843-44), and, particularly, the making of Capital through the various drafts, like the Grundrisse (the interpretation of which will be emphasized), the Theories of Surplus Value and the 'Results of the Immediate Process of Production', better known as the 'Unpublished Chapter VI'. Similar attention will be devoted to Marx’s 1850s journalism for the New-York Tribune, in which he dealt with topics beyond those explored in Capital and his scholarly manuscripts, which are important sources for every serious scholar of Marx.

Course Requirements

Class Participation:

This course is taught in weekly seminars lasting 2 hours and 50 minutes. Attendance is strongly recommended and students are expected to participate actively in seminar discussion.


Each class will begin with a student presentation (20 - 30 minutes) on the assigned readings. Please avoid just reading a paper aloud, and try to draw the attention of the class to issues on which the presenter would like class discussion and comment.

Final Paper Proposal:

Students are free to propose their own final paper topic, but it has to be related to the topics and the writings of the course syllabus. Final paper proposal should be 3-4 pages and should include the following information:

- Indication of the title;

- Preliminary outline of the paper and its problematic;

- 6-8 keywords concerning the themes and concepts to be addressed;

- A bibliography of at least 8-10 sources consulted;

Final papers proposal will be due by 22 November, in hard copy and by email.

Final Paper:

The Final Paper, approved through the Final Paper Proposal, will be due in hard copy and by email 15 December and should:

- be approximately 5000 words;

- be clearly structured (divided in at least 3/4 sections);

- have references from hard copy books with the indication of page numbers (no references from internet).

Access to Readings:

The volumes of Marx-Engels Collected Works are available online at; while the other books and articles indicated in the readings are on reserve at Scott library. Many of the readings are available on-line (more information on the course could be also found at

Finally, Karl Marx, Grundrisse (Penguin, 1993), Karl Marx, Capital (Penguin, 1990), and Marcello Musto (ed.), Karl Marx’s Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (Routledge, 2008) have been ordered for the bookstore.

Course Evaluation

Class Participation


2 Presentations 15% each


Final paper proposal


Final paper


Schedule of Classes and Readings

Sep 13 Introduction and Overview

Sep 20 Different Marxes, Different Marxisms

Required Readings:

Marcello Musto, 'The Rediscovery of Karl Marx', International Review of Social History, vol. 52 part 3, 2007: 477-498.

Eric Hobsbawm, 'The Fortunes of Marx's and Engels' Writings'', in idem, ed., The History of Marxism, Volume 1: Marxism in Marx's day, Harvester 1982.

Additional Readings:

Maximilien Rubel – Margaret Manale, Marx Without Myth: AChronological Study of His Life and Work, Blackwell 1975.

David McLellan, Karl Marx: his life and thought, Palgrave 2006.

Ernest Mandel, 'Marx, Karl Heinrich', in John Eatwell - Murray Milgate - Peter Newman (eds), The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, Volume 3 , pp. 367-383.

Hal Draper, The Marx-Engels Chronicle, Schoken Books 1985.

Sep 27 The Formation of the Critique of Political Economy

Required Readings:

Karl Marx, 'Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy' [1859].

Marcello Musto, 'Marx in Paris. Manuscripts and notebooks of 1844', Science & Society, Vol. 73, n. 3 (July 2009): 386-402.

Karl Marx, Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (Sections: 'Estranged Labour', 'The Relationship of Private Property', 'Private Property and Labour', 'Private Property and Communism') [1844].

Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy (Chapter II: 'The Metaphysics of Political Economy') [1847].

Karl Marx, “Wage-Labour and Capital” [1849] (especially the sections: I, III and V).

Additional Readings:

Jürgen Rojahn, 'The emergence of a theory: the importance of Marx’s notebooks exemplified by those from 1844', Rethinking Marxism, Vol. 14, n. 4 (2002): 29-46.

Ernest Mandel, The Formation of the Economic Thought of Karl Marx, 1843 to Capital, New York: Monthly Review Press 1971.

Louis Althusser, For Marx, Verso 2005 (Chapter 2: 'On the Young Marx').

Allen Oakley, Marx’s Critique of Political Economy. Intellectual Sources and Evolution. Volume I: 1844 to 1860, Routledge 1984.

Oct 4 Marx at the time of the First World Economic Crisis

Marcello Musto, 'The Formation of Marx’s Critique of Political Economy: From the Studies of 1843 to the Grundrisse', Socialism & Democracy, Vol. 24, n. 3 (July 2010), pp. 66-100.

Michael Krätke, 'The First World Economic Crisis: Marx as an Economic Journalist', in Marcello Musto (ed.), Karl Marx’s Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy 150 Years Later, pp. 162-168.

Karl Marx, articles for the New-York Tribune:

'The Economic Crisis in Europe', 'The Trade Crisis in England', 'The Financial Crisis in Europe' from MECW 15; and 'British Commerce and Finance' from MECW 16.

Plus five other articles, by choice, among those listed below:

'Pauperism and Free Trade – The Approaching Commercial Crisis' from MECW 11; 'Revolution in China and Europe' and 'Political Movements – Scarcity of Bread in Europe' from MECW 12; 'The Commercial Crisis in Britain' from MECW 13; 'The Crisis in England' from MECW 14; 'The French Crédit Mobilier' (I, II and III), 'The Monetary Crisis in Europe', 'The Causes of the Monetary Crisis in Europe', 'The European Crisis', 'The New French Bank Act', 'The Bank Act of 1844 and the Monetary Crisis in England', 'The Crisis in Europe', 'The French Crisis', 'The Economic Crisis in France' and 'The Financial State of France' from MECW 15; 'The English Bank Act of 1844' and 'Commercial Crises and Currency in Britain' from MECW 16.

Additional Readings:

Michael Perelman, Marx's Crises Theory, Praeger 1987.

Makoto Itoh, Value and Crisis, Monthly Review Press 1980.

Michael Krätke, 'Marx's 'books of crisis' of 1857-8', in Marcello Musto (ed.), Karl Marx’s Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy 150 Years Later, Routledge 2008, pp. 169-175.

Oct 18 The '1857 Introduction'

Required Readings:

Marcello Musto, 'History, Production and Method in the 1857 Introduction', in idem, ed., Karl Marx’s Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy 150 Years Later, pp. 3-32.

Karl Marx, Grundrisse ('Introduction'), Penguin 1973, pp. 83-111.

Additional Readings:

Stuart Hall, 'Marx’s notes on method: A "reading" of the "1857 Introduction"', Cultural Studies, Vol. 17, n. 2 (2003), pp. 113-49.

Terrell Carver, 'Commentary', in idem, ed., Karl Marx: Texts on Method, Oxford: Blackwell 1975, pp. 88-158.

Louis Althusser - Étienne Balibar, Reading Capital, Verso 1979.

Oct 25 Capitalism and Earlier Economic Formations

Required Readings:

Karl Marx, Grundrisse ('Forms Which Precede Capitalist Production'), pp. 471-513.

Eric Hobsbawm, Introduction to Karl Marx, Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations, International Publishers 1965, pp. 9-65.

Ellen Meiksins Wood, Historical Materialism in 'Forms Which Precede Capitalist Production' , in Marcello Musto, ed., Karl Marx's Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy 150 Years Later, pp. 79-92.

Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (Chapter I: 'The Commodity').

Additional Readings:

Ellen Meiksins Wood, Democracy Against Capitalism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1995 ('Introduction' and Chapter 1: 'The Separation of the 'Economic' and the 'Political' in Capitalism), pp. 1-48.

Vv. Aa., 'Dissemination and Reception of the Grundrisse in the World',Marcello Musto, ed., Karl Marx's Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (Chapters 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24 and 25).

G. A. Cohen, Karl Marx's Theory of History, Princeton University Press 1978.

Nov 1 From the Grundrisse to Capital. I

Required Readings:

Roman Rosdolsky, The Making of Marx’s Capital, Pluto 1977 (Chapters 1 and 2).

Joseph O'Malley - Keith Algozin, ed., Rubel on Karl Marx: Five Essays, Cambridge University Press 1981.

Moishe Postone, Time, Labor, and Social Domination, Cambridge University Press 1993 (Chapters 1: 'Rethinking Marx's Critique of Capitalism' and 10: 'Concluding Considerations'), pp. 3-42 and 385-399.

Additional Readings:

Enrique Dussel, 'The Discovery of the Category of Surplus Value', in Marcello Musto (ed.), Karl Marx’s Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy 150 Years Later, pp. 66-78.

Allen Oakley, The Making of Marx’s Critical Theory, Routledge 1983.

Vytalij Vygoskij, The Story of a Great Discovery: How Karl Marx Wrote 'Capital', Verlag der Wirthschaft 1973.

Nov 8 From the Grundrisse to Capital. II

Required Readings:

Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I ('Preface to the First Edition'; and 'Postface to the French Edition'), pp. 89-93, 105.

Moishe Postone, "Rethinking Capital in Light of the Grundrisse", in M. Musto (ed.), Karl Marx’s Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy, pp. 120-137.

Michael Lebowitz, Beyond Capital, Palgrave 2003 (Chapter 3: 'The Missing Book on Wage-Labour'), pp. 27-50.

Kevin Anderson, Marx at the Margins, University of Chicago Press 2010 (Chapter 5: From the Grundrisse to Capital: Multilinear Themes), pp. 151-195.

Kevin Anderson, “The Unknown Marx’s Capital, volume I: The French Edition of 1872-75, 100 Years later”, in Review of Radical Political Economy, Vol. 15, n.4 (1983), pp. 71-80.

Additional Readings:

Allen Oakley, Marx’s Critique of Political Economy. Intellectual Sources and Evolution. Volume II: 1861 to 1863, Routledge 1985.

Enrique Dussel, Towards an unknown Marx: A Commentary on the Manuscritps of 1861-1863, Routledge 2001.

Ernest Mandel, 'Introduction', in Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I, pp. 11-86.

Ben Fine - Alfredo Saad-Filho, Marx's Capital, Pluto Press 2010.

David Harvey, The Limits to Capital, London: Verso 2006 (Chapter 1: 'Commodities, Values and Class Relation'), pp. 1-38.

Nov 15 Labour and Capital in the Unpublished 'Chapter VI' of 1863- 1864

Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I ('Appendix: Results of the Immediate Process of Production'), pp. 948-1084.

Additional Readings:

Ernest Mandel, 'Appendix: Results of the Immediate Process of Production: Introduction', in Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I, pp. 943-947.

Nov 22 Marx's Conception of Socialism in Capital and its Preparatory Manuscripts

Required Readings:

Karl Marx, Grundrisse ('The Fragments on Machines'), Penguin 1973, pp. 690-712.

Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I (Chapters I, section 4: 'The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof'; 10: 'The Working Day', section 5 'The Struggle for a Normal Working Day. Laws for the Compulsory Extension of the Working Day, from the Middle of the Fourteenth to the End of the Seventeenth Century'; and 13: 'Co-operation'), pp. 163-177, 375-389, 439-454.

Iring Fetscher, 'Emancipated Individuals in an Emancipated Society: Marx's Sketch of Post-Capitalist Society in the Grundrisse', in Marcello Musto (ed.), Karl Marx’s Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy 150 Years Later, pp. 107-119.

Paresh Chattopadhyay, 'The Failure of Twentieth-Century Socialism and Marx’s Continuing Relevance', Socialism and Democracy, Vol. 24, n. 3 (2010), pp. 23-45.

Paresh Chattopadhyay, 'Passage to Socialism: The Dialectic of Progress in Marx', Historical Materialism, Vol. 14, n.3 (2006), pp. 45-84.

Roman Rosdolsky, The Making of Marx’s Capital, Pluto 1977 (Chapters XXVIII and XXIX).

Michael Lebowitz, Beyond Capital, Palgrave 2003 (Chapter 11: 'From Capital to the Collective Worker'), pp. 197-210.

Additional Readings:

Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme

Karl Marx, 'Letter to Vera Zasulich' (including the drafts) [1881], in MECW 24.

Daniel Bensaid, Marx for Our Times, Verso 2002.

Isaak Illich Rubin, Essays on Marx’s Theory of Value, Black & Red 1972.

Nov 29 Engels’ editorial activity on Capital vol. II and vol. III

Friedrich Engels, “Preface” to Capital vol. II.

Friedrich Engels, “Preface” to Capital vol. III.

Karl Marx, Capital, vol. III (Part III “The Law of the Tendency of the Rate of the Profit to Fall”).

Michael Heinrich, "Engels’ Edition of the Third Volume of Capital and Marx’s Original Manuscript", in Science & Society, Vol. 60, n. 4, (Winter 1996-1997), 452-466.

Michael Heinrich, Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Ökonomie. Dritter Band (review), in Historical Materialism, Vol. 15 (2007), pp. 195-210.

Regina Roth, “Karl Marx’s Original Manuscripts in the Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA): Another View on Capital”, in R.Bellofiore-R.Fineschi, Re-reading Marx, Palgrave: 2009.

Michael Heinrich,"Reconstuction or Deconstruction? Methodological Controversies about Value and Capital and New Insights from the Critical Edition”, in R.Bellofiore-R.Fineschi, Re-reading Marx, Palgrave: 2009.

Dec 5 (Monday) Why Could Marx Not Complete Capital ?

Special Seminar with the participation of Michael Krätke (Chair of the Department of Political Economy at Lancaster University - Britain)