Capital (Das Kapital)

Key terms
Capital traces the development of the capitalist system. Writing in the 19th century at the height of class division and dismal working conditions in Europe, Marx strives to explain capitalism and highlight exploitation of the working class.
Displaced Peasants
For centuries, peasants in England were forced off their land into poverty.
Industrial Revolution
Growing industry in urban areas attracted poor peasants in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Unjust Punishment
Rulers like Elizabeth I passed harsh laws to punish peasants who had become vagrants.
Creation of Working Class
Peasants became industrial workers—a group with poor treatment and low wages in common.
Surplus value that becomes profit
The potential of a person's labor to produce value
Profit that is reinvested into the system
KARL MARX 1818-8
A German philosopher and activist of the 19th century, Marx made his mark on political and economic history. He is famous for his treatise on capitalism and The Communist Manifesto, which he coauthored with Friedrich Engels, a fellow German philosopher. Both texts have influenced modern politics and economics.