You Can Buy a Copy of Marx’s ‘Capital’ Signed by Carly Fiorina on eBay To Benefit Bernie Sanders

But time is running out.

Branko MarceticFebruary 12, 2016


If Karl Marx had lived long enough to see Car­ly Fiorina’s failed GOP cam­paign, he might’ve been impressed with the for­mer Hewlett-Packard CEO. After all, Marx only preached about the over­throw of cap­i­tal­ism — Fio­r­i­na had actu­al hands-on expe­ri­ence bring­ing a major cor­po­ra­tion to its knees.

At Goodreads, Marx’s treatise has a 4.17 out of 5 average rating, narrowly edging out the 3.63 average rating for Tough Choices.

Per­haps that’s why Fio­r­i­na per­son­al­ly signed a copy of Marx’s Cap­i­tal Vol­ume I in 2007 at a Man­hat­tan Barnes & Noble, a price­less piece of polit­i­cal mem­o­ra­bil­ia now up for sale on eBay.

Peter Hog­ness, a labor activist in New York and a for­mer high school class­mate of Fior­i­na’s in Palo Alto, is sell­ing the book. He says the sign­ing took place dur­ing a 2007 book tour for her mem­oir, Tough Choic­es. He pre­sent­ed Cap­i­tal to Fio­r­i­na dur­ing a book-sign­ing event and asked if she would sign it instead of her mem­oir. Oh, I’ve read this!” she said upon see­ing Marx’s clas­sic work of polit­i­cal econ­o­my. She agreed to sign it.

Hog­ness says Cap­i­tal seemed like a more inter­est­ing choice than Fiorina’s mem­oir for his book­shelf. Sure enough, at Goodreads, Marx’s trea­tise has a 4.17 aver­age star rat­ing—nar­row­ly edg­ing out the 3.63 aver­age rat­ing for Tough Choic­es. (Hog­ness says he bought and read Tough Choic­es, and it’s not a bad read.”)

He believes the book was appro­pri­ate giv­en Fiorina’s record.

The book describes capitalism’s relent­less dri­ve to reduce labor costs regard­less of the human cost, and how over time this helps cre­ate a reserve army’ of the unem­ployed,” Hog­ness explained. Before Fio­r­i­na became its CEO, Hewlett-Packard was known for its reluc­tance to lay off employ­ees. But she laid off tens of thou­sands with­out hes­i­ta­tion, and in that sense made HP a more thor­ough­ly cap­i­tal­ist enterprise.”

The book is described as being in excel­lent con­di­tion,” and bid­ders have nine days to win the book for them­selves. At present, after two bids, the price is up to $102.50. The pro­ceeds from the sale will go towards Social­ists for Bernie Sanders, a grass­roots orga­ni­za­tion sep­a­rate from the Sanders cam­paign that is work­ing to get the Sen­a­tor elected.

The inflat­ed price per­fect­ly illus­trates Marx’s dis­tinc­tion between use-val­ue and exchange val­ue, Hog­ness explained.

By sign­ing this copy of Cap­i­tal Vol­ume I, Car­ly Fio­r­i­na has increased its exchange-val­ue,” Hog­ness said. And I can’t think of a bet­ter use for that exchange-val­ue than to help to elect Bernie Sanders as our next president.”

There’s no word yet on whether there’s a copy of Richard Dawkins’ TheGod Delu­sion signed by Ted Cruz float­ing around somewhere.

This post has been updat­ed to reflect Hog­ness’ claim that Fio­r­i­na said she had read Cap­i­tal.

Branko Marcetic is a staff writer at Jacobin mag­a­zine and a 2019 – 2020 Leonard C. Good­man Insti­tute for Inves­tiga­tive Report­ing fel­low. He is work­ing on a forth­com­ing book about Joe Biden.
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