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Marx's InfernoThe Political Theory of Capital$
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William Clare Roberts

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691180816

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691180816.001.0001

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Malebolge: The Capitalist Mode of Production as Fraud

Malebolge: The Capitalist Mode of Production as Fraud

(p.146) Chapter 5 Malebolge: The Capitalist Mode of Production as Fraud
Marx's Inferno

William Clare Roberts

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines parts four through seven of Capital, where Karl Marx argues that capitalism is guilty of fraud. Rewriting Dante's long passage through the Malebolge (the ringed field where the sins of fraud are punished), Marx claims that the capitalist mode of production is a fraud, promising good but delivering evil. He insists that the accumulation of wealth as capital requires and creates a dependent population in excess of the demand for labor power. In order to appreciate Marx's distinctive approach to these matters, the chapter considers Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's writings, drawing special attention to the collective forces of production and the ontological status of association. It also discusses the three monsters of fraud mentioned by Marx in Capital, in particular the mechanism by which the surplus labor of the proletariat relates to the wages of labor.

Keywords:   capitalism, Capital, Karl Marx, capitalist mode of production, fraud, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, collective force, association, surplus labor, wages

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