Written in the winter of 1846-7 as a response to Proudhon's Système des Contradictions Economique ou Philosophie de la Misère, this is essential background for appreciating Marx's later work, including Capital and his Communist Manifesto. Here, Marx begins to explore such concepts as constituted or synthetic value, the division of labor and machinery, competition and monopoly, strikes and the combination of workmen, and free trade, all of which would later come to play important roles in his social and political philosophy. Anyone wishing to understand Marx's approach to capitalism as an oppressor of the proletariat and as a movement destined to collapse must consider this required reading. Prussian philosopher KARL MARX (1818-1883) was a social scientist, historian, and political revolutionary. He is indisputably the most influential socialist thinker to emerge in the 19th century. Although scholars largely ignored him in his own lifetime, his social, economic, and political ideas gained rapid acceptance in the socialist movement after his death.