Marxists waste too much energy on Capital: the book is taken as a sacred text and subjected to the humbled treatment given to esoteric wisdom. There is a much simpler approach: take the work as emblematic and leave it at that: the text’s theory attempts the impossible. Anyone who embarks on an ambitious project that suddenly starts to fall apart in execution can see what happened to Marx: he could not fully realize the vision of theory that animated the beginning. It would be better for the left to stop obsessing over the work, and use it as set of symbols or problems under study, refocusing energy on the saga of Marx/Engels starting in the 1840’s. It is time to stop setting up beginners for refutation by indoctrination in the now settled dogmas of marxism.
Having written WHEE (history-and-evolution.com) I know from experience the problem that Marx bequeathed to himself in the ambition to create a master theory of history: the theory doesn’t work, first because history is ultra complex with multiple components beyond the economic, second because science won’t work on history taken as physics, free agency blocks a basic theory, and finally related to the first is the failure of economic processes to generate a macro dynamic: economics is a subsection of the whole, no more, no less. The issue of ideology therefore is rather that economic subsystems of society foist their obsession on the minds of social agents, making them overestimate the place of economy, in the process using theory to disguise their motives. In the actual time of Marx the theory of darwinism was rapidly assuming just such a role in the emergence of social darwinism. In any case the theory of the super and substructure doesn’t really work. And it is good the theory doesn’t match reality, because the core of marxism hides its despair that the capitalist juggernaut is inevitable, the very illusion that was to be dispelled.
In any case, noone outside of the marxist circle pays any attention to the work any more, save as cultural symbology, and it is futile to try and try to produce the ‘real meaning’.
It would help to set aside Capital, and stop delivering beginners to the muddle the book actually is. The Communist Manifesto is enough, along with the history of the era of 1848, with the theory simply restated as a series of empirical perceptions of economics and ideology.