[Marxism] Reading Capital

Lance Murdoch lancemurdoch at gmail.com
Fri Jan 6 19:27:09 MST 2006


On 1/6/06, Michael Perelman <michael at ecst.csuchico.edu> wrote:
> Lou did not do justice to Hans' work on Capital.  Had he done this for
> Adam Smith or some conservative economist, every economist would be
> singing his praises.  It is an exceptional work of scholarship.

I see he compares different English translations of Capital I.

I have the Penguin Classics version translated by Ben Fowkes, 15th
edition.  I have personally found errors in the text, simply due to
them being illogical.  For example in Volume/Book One, Part 4, Chapter
15, Section 2, there is a sentence that says:

Mr. Baynes, of Blackburn, in a lecture published in 1858, estimates
that "each real mechanical horse-power [25] will drive 450 self-acting
mule spindles, with preparation, or 220 throstle spindles, or 15 looms
for 40 inch cloth with the appliances for warping, sizing, &c."

This is incorrect however, it is 200 throstle spindles, not 220
throstle spindles.  The marxists.org version of the text has the
correct figure.  I sent an e-mail to Penguin about this months ago but
never receieved a reply.

It brings to my mind all of the Marxist phrases tossed about that may
be mistranslations, or at least translations from one word to another
without a good counterpoint in the other language.  The
mistranslations and pseudo-mistranslations that come to mind are -

The "idiocy" of rural life

and

Imperialism - the "highest" stage of capitalism

I don't recall any more at the moment.

-- Lance




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