One of the most notorious works of modern times, as well as one of the most influential, “Capital” is an incisive critique of private property and the social relations it generates. Living in exile in England, where this work was largely written, Marx drew on a wide-ranging knowledge of its society to support his analysis and generate fresh insights. Arguing that capitalism would create an ever-increasing division in wealth and welfare, he predicted its abolition and replacement by a system with common ownership of the means of production. “Capital” rapidly acquired readership among the leaders of social democratic parties, particularly in Russia and Germany, and ultimately throughout the world, to become a work described by Marx’s friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels as ‘the Bible of the Working Class’.
Marx published the first volume of Capital in 1867, but he died before he could finish the second and third ones, which he had already drafted; these were edited by his friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels and published in 1885 and 1894. As can be seen in the original title pages of the final two volumes, Engels listed Marx as the author.