Commodities and Money
The Transformation of Money into Capital
The Production of Absolute Surplus-Value
The Production of Relative Surplus-Value
On April 17, 1868, he wrote Marx: "I have a limited time at my disposal and the summarising of your
book requires more work than I thought; after all, once having taken up the work, I must do it
properly...." Engels' synopsis serves two useful contributions: First, Engels was a far more rapid writer
than Marx, and more readable. Second, Engels could distance himself from the massive web of ideas
without "losing his place in it", and identify primary points to be made.
NOTE: In the first edition, Volume I was divided into six chapters. Subsequent editions renamed these chapters "parts". The 5th chapter was broken into two parts; so that a total of seven parts resulted. The four chapters summarized by Engels therefore correspond to the first four parts ofCapital as found today. Also note Marx made additions and alterations to the text in subsequent editions. For example, Marx did not dwell in the 1st chapter/part (Commodities) on value and exchange-value \u2014 so Engels' synopsis doesn't deal with that subject, which is today integral to chapter one.
The centre of gravity, in the synopsis, as well as in the reviews, lies in the theory of surplus-value, the
corner-stone of Marx's economic doctrine. Engels summarized Marx's theory of surplus-value with
special care, characterizing in detail the historical circumstances in which the relations of capital
exploitation spread, the working class made its first steps in the struggle and the first skirmishes took
place between labor and capital.
Engels' synopsis that the transition from one category to another is not a freak of reason but the reflection
of the real historic process of development. Keeping to the order of Marx's exposition, he shows how, in
the course of historic development, capital emerged on the basis of commodity production, how it
subordinated to itself the whole of production, how simple co-operation was replaced by manufacture
and this, in turn, by machine production.
1. Commodities as such
2. The process of commodity exchange
3. Money, or the circulation of commodities
A. The Measure of Values
a. The Metamorphosis of Commodities
b. The Currency of Money
c. Coins. Symbols of Value
b. Means of Payment
c. Universal Money
The wealth of societies in which capitalist production prevails consists ofcommodities. A commodity is a
thing that hasuse-value; the latter exists in all forms of society, but in capitalist society, use-value is, in
addition, the material depository of exchange-value.
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