Exchange and the market are pre-existing social creations. (One should not confuse the two with “capitalism” which is a very specific social formation.) They have existed throughout feudalism, mercantilism, and into capitalism. Nevertheless, to repeat a phrase we hear a lot these days, has capitalism become too big to fail? Alternatively, do we simply lack the creativity and innovation to replace it? These are challenging questions we must now ask ourselves because the twin creeds of communism and capitalism have provided no viable solutions.
(Reviewer’s Notes: This review is based on the 1976 version of Capital translated by Ben Fowkes. Ernest Mandel provides wrote a lucid, albeit gushing introduction. Mandel’s introduction offers a great analysis of Marx’s work. Unfortunately, history has proven communism’s viability untenable. The Penguin Classics edition I read also includes an appendix entitled “Results of the Immediate Process of Production,” also known as the Resultate. The Resultate functions as an early draft of Capital: Volume One and as a bridge between Volumes One and Two.)