As an introduction to Volume One of Marx’s Capital, this book does not quite meet the standard set by David Harvey’s superb “Companion to Marx’s Capital”. On a purely practical level it suffers as a companion to reading the original work by not clearly referencing which sections Jameson is discussing throughout. The focus is very much on the philosophical underpinning, and particularly the dialectics of Marx’s work, and less on the purely economics. This allows Jameson to bring out some interesting points, such as the contradiction between use value and exchange value, and it’s resolution through the mediation of money.
In some ways the most interesting point comes right at the end. Despite insisting that Capital is not a political book as such (an interesting judgement to say the least) Jameson establishes it’s tendency to unemployment as the key failure of capitalism. Associating a focus on domination as a secondary and political aspect tending to anarchism. Unemployment as a facet of exploitation is the key element which can form the underpinning for a renewed political project based on Marx.
This book is not an introduction to Marx’s economics. Nor is it a replacement for the (irreplaceable) “Companion” of David Harvey. As a precursor to reading Capital though it uncovers the mind set and philosophy to facilitate a more critical reading.