1st Edition

Marx’s Capital, Capitalism and Limits to the State Theoretical Considerations

By Raju J Das Copyright 2022
    348 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    348 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Marx’s Capital, Capitalism and Limits to the State examines the capitalist state in the abstract, and as it exists in advanced capitalism and peripheral capitalism, illustrating the ideas with evidence from the North and the South.

    The volume unpacks the capitalist state’s functions in relation to commodity relations, private property, and the crisis-ridden production of (surplus) value as a part of the capital circuit (M-C-M′). It also examines state’s political and geographical forms. It argues that no matter how autonomous it is, the state cannot meet the pressing needs of the masses significantly and sustainably. This is not because of so-called capitalist constraints, but because the state is inherently capitalist. Each chapter begins with Capital volume 1. And each chapter ends with theoretical/practical implications of the ideas which taken together counter existing state theory’s focus on state autonomy and reforms and point to the necessity for the masses to establish a new transitional democratic state. But the book goes ‘beyond’ Marx too, as it deploys the combined Marxism of 19th and 20th centuries.

    Marx’s Capital, Capitalism and Limits to the State will interest scholars researching state-society/economy relations. It is suitable for university students as well as established scholars in sociology, political science, heterodox economics, human geography, and international development.

    1. Introduction, 2. A critical review of Marxist state theory post Marx, 3. The state and class relations, 4. The state’s internal relation with capitalism and capitalists, 5. The state, capitalist commodity relations, and labour power, 6. The state and capitalist property relations, 7. The state, and capitalist production, exploitation, accumulation, and crisis, 8. The state, and the agency of capitalists and state actors, 9. The state and the agency of the working class, 10. State Forms: Geographic and bureaucratic, 11. Capitalism, imperialism, and the state in the global periphery


    Raju J Das is Professor at York University, Toronto. His teaching and research interests are in political economy, class theory, the capitalist state, and international development. His recent books include Marxist Class Theory for a Skeptical World. He is associated with a number of scholarly journals: Dialectical Anthropology; Race, Class and Corporate Power; Critical Sociology; Human Geography; and Science and Society: A Journal of Marxist Thought and Analysis.

    "[A] major theoretical contribution. In the process of patiently pointing out the problems of current state theory, Das develops both a rigorous defence and a convincing update of the ideas developed by Marx, Engels, and subsequent revolutionary Marxists about the state...Raju Das has done us a favour by taking on these ideas in a serious way and by recovering and reconstituting a Marxist approach to the state. The left urgently needs to take it to heart."

    Chris Nineham, Counterfire

    "Raju Das has written a magisterial study of Marx’s Capital and the Marxist theory of the state. But lest the reader suspect that this is "yet another" reworking of a huge already-existing literature, know that its author has important polemical strings to his bow: The state is not a "place" separated from class, class struggle and capitalist production/reproduction; it is, rather, an intrinsic element of that mix. It is not a neutral site on which different class forces confront one another; but neither can it be reduced to a passive outcome of a spontaneous accumulation process. And Marx’s masterwork, Capital, is not, as sometimes thought, largely silent on the state: It contains crucial guides to analysis of the state in all of its manifestations: relation to class, state forms (geographic, bureaucratic), imperialism and the global periphery; the roles and agency of various actors (capitalists, workers, state managers), and much more. While Das is a strong advocate for the centrality of the Marxist classics to clear revolutionary thinking, he is not an unthoughtful one; Marx, Engels, Lenin and legions of contemporary writers all come in for careful, and sometimes critical, evaluation. You may not agree with everything you find here, but it will make you ponder and reflect, and there is no way anyone could miss the relevance of this study to the crises and potentials of today’s world."

    David Laibman Editor, Science & Society, and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York

    "Raju Das has written an important and provocative book about the state as the concentrated power and coercive force of capitalist society. He argues with Lenin beyond Lenin about the politics of capitalist wealth and the politics of the poor and miserable. What is done and what can be done? His reconstitution of Marxist state theory provides an imaginative explanation of the role of the state in capitalist society and in a socialist politics of the working class."  

    Professor Werner Bonefeld, Department of Politics, University of York, UK 

    "This book is a major contribution to our understanding of the capitalist state. In a series of powerful arguments, Raju J. Das urges us to see the state in terms of its internal relation to capital. This is a challenging and illuminating work that should become essential reading for everyone concerned with Marxist theory and practice.

    David McNally, NEH Cullen Chair in History and Business, University of Houston