Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

History versus Theory: A Commentary on Marx’s Method in Capital

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Historical Materialism

Abstract The gap between Marx’s theoretical writings on political economy (for example, the three volumes of Capital) and his historical writings (such as The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte and The Civil War in France) arises out of certain limitations that Marx placed upon his political-economic enquiries. These limitations are outlined in the Grundrisse where Marx distinguishes between the universality of the metabolic relation to nature, the generality of the laws of motion of capital, the particularities of distribution and exchange, and the singularities of consumption. What an analysis of the content of Capital shows is that Marx largely confined his efforts to identifying the law-like character of production to the exclusion of all else. While this allowed him to identify certain laws of motion of capital within any form of the capitalist mode of production, it did not and could not constitute a total theory of a capitalist mode of production. A better understanding of what it is that Marx can do for us through his identification of the general laws of motion leads to a far better appreciation of what it is that we have to do for ourselves in order to make Marx’s theoretical findings applicable to particular conjunctural conditions, such as those that have arisen throughout the economic crisis that began in 2007.

Affiliations: 1: City University of New York


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Baran Paul, Sweezy Paul Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order 1966 New York Monthly Review Press
2. Boccara Paul Études sur le capitalisme monopoliste d’État, sa crise et son issue 1970 Paris Grijalbo
3. Burkett Paul Marx and Nature: A Red and Green Perspective 1999 Basingstoke Palgrave-Macmillan
4. Cleaver Harry Reading Capital Politically 2000 Second Edition Leeds/Edinburgh Antithesis and AK Press
5. Engels Frederick The Dialectics of Nature 1974 [1925] Moscow Progress Publishers
6. Engels Frederick Socialism, Utopian and Scientific 2008 [1880] Atlanta Pathfinder Press
7. Foster John Bellamy Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature 2000 New York Monthly Review Press
8. Harvey David Social Justice and the City 1973 London Edward Arnold
9. Harvey David The Limits to Capital 1982 First Edition Oxford Blackwell
10. Harvey David Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference 1996 Oxford Blackwell
11. Harvey David A Companion to Marx’s ‘Capital’ 2010 London Verso
12. Harvey David Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution 2012 London Verso
13. Jay Martin The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923–1950 1996 Berkeley University of California Press
14. Leiss William The Domination of Nature 1994 Montreal McGill-Queen’s University Press
15. Marx Karl The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte 1963 [1852] New York International Publishers
16. Marx Karl Theories of Surplus Value, Part 1 1969a [1863] London Lawrence and Wishart
17. Marx Karl Theories of Surplus Value, Part 2 1969b [1863] London Lawrence and Wishart
18. Marx Karl Theories of Surplus Value, Part 3 1972a [1863] London Lawrence and Wishart
19. Marx Karl The Civil War in France: The Paris Commune 1972b [1871] New York New World Paperbacks
20. Marx Karl Nicolaus Martin Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (Rough Draft) 1973 [1939/41] Harmondsworth Penguin
21. Marx Karl Fowkes Ben Capital 1976 [1867]Vol Volume 1 Harmondsworth Penguin
22. Marx Karl Fernbach David Capital 1978 [1885]Vol Volume 2 Harmondsworth Penguin
23. Marx Karl Fernbach David Capital 1981 [1894]Vol Volume 3 Harmondsworth Penguin
24. Marx Karl, Engels Friedrich The Communist Manifesto 1952 [1848] Moscow Progress Publishers
25. Negri Antonio Fleming Jim Marx Beyond Marx: Lessons on the ‘Grundrisse’ 1996 [1981] New York/London Autonomedia and Pluto Press
26. Sayer Derek The Violence of Abstraction: The Analytical Foundations of Historical Materialism 1987 Oxford Blackwell
27. Smith Neil Uneven Development: Nature, Capital and the Production of Space 1984 First Edition Oxford Blackwell
28. Stalin Joseph Vissarionovich Dialectical and Historical Materialism 1985 [1938] London Taylor and Francis

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Historical Materialism — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation