Meaning of Das Kapital

Das Kapital is known as one of the most popular literary works of Karl Marx. He was a 19th-century philosopher and economist. In the book, he expanded his theory related to the entire capitalist system, the dynamics that it has, and the tendency of capitalism towards self-destruction. 

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The word Das Kapital in English stands for Capital. In the book, he described the purpose of his work as the economic laws related to motions of modern society. The book had its first volume published in the year 1867 in Berlin. The 2nd and the 3rd Volume that Friedrich Engel, his collaborator edited, was published in the years 1885 and 1994. 

Concept and Meaning of Das Kapital 

Almost all of the parts of the book Das Kapital by Karl Max describe the concept related to the surplus-value of labour and the consequences that it has for capitalism. According to the author, the population pressure was not responsible for driving wages to subsistence level. It was actually the large army of individuals who were unemployed. Karl Marx blamed the capitalists for such a situation. 

He also mentioned that in a capitalist society, labour was just a commodity that could gain subsistence wages and nothing more. However, capitalists were provided with the authority to force the labourers so that they would spend more time on their jobs than required. 

Since all profit is a result of labour exploitation, the rate of profit is actually dependent on the different number of labourers that are employed. Machines cannot really be exploited and hence they don’t have an actual contribution to make into profits. However, these machines are helpful in assisting the labourers to produce better products that are more useful. Students can gain further information about the concepts of the book from Das Kapital PDF

According to the book, payroll capital or variable capital tends to be pretty productive and provides surplus value along with profit as well. When machines are introduced, it can be useful for the entrepreneur as well. He gets to have a competitive edge against his rivals. However, profit declines when there is an increase in machinery related to an increase in wages. Thus, the capitalist is able to receive less return and can postpone the act of bankruptcy by pressurizing the workers more. Ultimately, according to Das Kapital Summary, the capitalist class turns unfit for the ruling. As a result, it collapses. The approach that Karl Marx used to describe capitalism in his book was pretty empirical in nature. 

Different Underlying Themes in Das Kapital 

There are some themes observed by the readers in Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. By careful study of the book, one might be able to come across these important themes. 

  • In the book, Marx makes an observation that the reason for such a motivating force provided to capitalism is labour exploitation. According to the book, the unpaid work of the labourers is often the major source of surplus waste. The owner has the right to the surplus value which is created because they belong to the ruling regime through the existence of property rights and much more. 

  • Wage labour can be defined as the trade unit in a capitalist world. Moreover, it is seen that commerce basically has no morality beyond the need to sell and buy goods as well as services. So, the growth of the entire market system is made through discrete entities related to the legal, moral, and economic spheres of society. 

  • According to Das Kapital Quotes, the process of economically forming a society can be seen as a natural historical process. Hence, an economist is easily able to objectively make an observation regarding the capitalism laws. 

  • Certain economic crises such as depression and recession have their roots in the contradictory character portrayed by the economic value that a commodity has. In a capitalist society, these can be seen as certain conditions that tend to propitiate the entire proletarian revolution. 

  • For an economy that has capitalism in its centre, aspects such as technological advancements have their very own role to play. The increased production of technology relates to the amount of material wealth that is created in a country. However, it also has an important role to play in eliminating the actual economic value. Hence, it diminishes the rate of profit. This can be seen as a particular paradox characteristic related to the economic crisis that takes place in a properly capitalist society.


The following article talks about Das Kapital which is arguably one of the most important works of Karl Marx. With the help of this article, students will be able to figure out the answers to the questions such as who wrote Das Kapital and what the book is trying to portray.  

FAQs on Das Kapital

1. Who wrote Das Kapital? 

Ans: Das Kapital is considered to be one of the very popular works of Karl Marx who was a 19th-century philosopher and economist. In Das Kapital, the author made an attempt to explain his theory regarding capitalism and the capitalist system that we live in. The dynamics of a capitalist society are expanded in great detail in Das Kapital. The book also describes the tendency that capitalism has towards eventual self-destruction. Such an original outlook towards one of the most powerful systems made the book pretty popular. The first edition of the book was published in the year 1867 in Berlin. After certain edits by Friedrich Engel, the 2nd and 3rd publications happened in the years 1885 and 1994. 

2. What is the meaning of Das Kapital? 

Ans: Almost every single part of the book Das Kapital depicts the effects and the concepts related to surplus-value and the consequences that it might bring for capitalism. The author explains that population pressure is not entirely responsible for the driving of wages into a level of subsistence. It was actually the lack of employment amongst the working class. Karl Marx put the blame on capitalists due to such a situation arising. The entire book tries to explain how capitalism is responsible for surplus value and many other details. It shows how the major economic crises in society these days are a result of capitalist tendencies.