Behind Capital: A Review of Alex Callinicos’ «Deciphering Capital»


Joe Sabatini assesses an important new work of Marxist theory.

Karl Marx Photo: thierry ehrmann, flickr

Deciphering Capital is a long awaited work, which Alex Callinicos has been developing over a number of years. Although stimulated by the resurgence in Marxist political economy since 2008, the book essentially goes back to his PhD in the 1970s.

Principally, Deciphering Capital could be described as an attempt to go back behind capital. In particular the work is a painstaking explication of the difficulties Marx faced in disentangling the contradictions of Ricardo’s theory of political economy, and his use of Hegel’s Logic as a means to hit upon his own method of exposition.

What this means is that DecipheringCapital is not an introductory guide to Marxist political economy, or even to Capital. In fact any reader who is not familiar with Capital, or even Hegel’s Logic will struggle with this book. Yet it is…

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