Monday 27 September 2010

MEGA volume II/14 (MEGA website - English)

Karl Marx / Friedrich Engels: Complete Works (MEGA). Edited by the International Marx-Engels Foundation. Second Section: "Capital" and Preparatory Works. Volume 14: Karl Marx / Friedrich Engels: Manuscripts and Texts Utilised for the Editing of the Third Book of "Capital", 1871–1895. Edited by Carl-Erich Vollgraf, Regina Roth and Juergen Jungnickel. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag 2003. Appx. pp. 1,100 – 20 Illustrations – 160 x 240 mm. 2 volumes cased, € 168,–. ISBN 978–3–05–003733–2.

Similar to Max Weber, Joseph A. Schumpeter and other highly significant social scientists and economists, Marx was unable to complete his main economic text; in fact he only published the first volume of "Capital" and that in a modified version.   Volumes 2 and 3 were put together and published by Engels from extensive manuscripts in Marx's literary estate; for this reason the authenticity of "Capital" has been, up to the present, controversial.   In the Second Section of the MEGA all published text and manuscript versions have been reconstructed in a historical and critical way.   Ten of the fifteen volumes in this section have already appeared and the remaining ones are currently being edited by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and other institutions in Moscow, Sendai and Tokyo.
Volume II/14 contains Marx's final manuscripts for the Third Book from the years 1871 to 1882 as well as all existing texts which Engels, for the editing of Volume 3, prepared between 1885 and 1894.   Forty-five of the fifty-one different pieces are here published for the first time.
At the center of the six texts which Marx himself wrote is his extensive manuscript from 1875, "A Mathematical Approach to Surplus Value and the Rate of Profit", which also is published here for the first time.   Three other manuscripts similarly deal with this topic while in two others the questions of profit, interest and rent are discussed.   When the eleven first drafts for the Third Book from 1867-68 are published in MEGA volume II/4.3, all existing manuscripts and notes for this Book will be available.   One will thus finally possess a secure textual basis for an evaluation of Marx's work on the theoretical part of the concluding Book of "Capital".   Moreover, the specific shifting of concepts as well as the changes in content in his later elaborations, with respect to the general outline of 1864-65, will be clarified.   Reflections on these aspects are offered by the editors in their essays on the origins and the development of the texts.
Volume II/14 represents the connecting link between the rough draft from 1864-65 (MEGA II/4.2) published in 1993 and the forthcoming MEGA volume II/15 which is the controversial 1894 version of the Third Volume published by Engels.   The 34 texts by the latter in the current volume allow for an equitable assessment of the task Engels carried out.   Through this material Engels' editorial work is now more transparent and its results and limits can be more subtly evaluated than was previously possible through only his preface and comments in his letters.   Moreover, additional light is shed on the relation between Marx and Engels and the differences in their scholarly approach.   With two exceptions, the texts by Engels are here published for the first time.
A panorama of the guiding editorial principles of Engels and how they were put into practice is offered by the general introduction to the volume; in addition the development of the process of editing Book Three between 1883 and 1894 is fully illustrated in the description of how each of the texts was written and then utilised.   The volume also contains two previously unpublished notes of Engels from 1882-83 in regard to the discussion with Achille Loria; they deal specifically with the continuation of "Capital" and what this Italian economist felt was the incompleteness of Marx's work and his explanation of average profit operating under the conditions of the law of value.   Contained here from Engels are two first drafts and a note of 1895 on his supplement to Book Three "The Law of Value and the Rate of Profit".   Two of these texts, in which Engels defends his edition, are here presented for the first time.
In the third section of this MEGA volume, three texts of Engels from 1885 and 1894 – two of which here for the first time published–, which document the way he proceded, are presented; they also shed light on the future publication of the fourth Book of "Capital" on the history of the theory.   The appendix contains Samuel Moore's evaluation of the manuscript "A Mathematical Approach to Surplus Value and the Rate of Profit" and Eleanor Marx Aveling's excerpts from sources utilized by Marx.   Both Moore and Marx Aveling had carried out this work on request from Engels in view of his editing of the Third Book; they are here published for the first time.

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