[OPE-L:2644] Re: Critique

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Thu Mar 30 2000 - 09:14:18 EST

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In OPE-L 2563, Andrew K accused Mattick, Jr of various sins. He writes:

>In short, Marx does not mostly criticize his opponents and common sense
>in the positivistic manner, by trying to show that their conceptions are
>at variance with the facts. He rather tries to show that their
>conceptions *do* correspond to the facts -- THAT is why "economic theory
>[has a] hold ... over the inhabitants of the system." The problem does
>not originate in their heads; rather, what exists is itself untrue,
>inverted. You simply cannot get rid of fetishism without getting rid of
>the relations to which the fetishistic notions correspond: "The veil is
>not removed from the countenance of the social life-process ... until it
>becomes production by freely associated men ..." (p. 173). This idea is
>of course anathema to all positivists.

I don't think Andrew has read the entire piece, right?

At any rate, if he is working from memory, I shall too here. Mattick Jr
himself underscores how the basic concepts of political economy have a
certain validity within bourgeois relations--that is, why they have a hold
over people! And as Mattick Jr emphasizes, this in too is part of what must
be explained: the hold theory has over people despite its inconsistencies
and explanatory incapacities.

Through this kind of critique, the original theory is both preserved and
annuled. Andrew, are we reading the same passage?

 What Mattick, Jr wants to demonstrate is that

1. the basic concepts of classical theory are nonetheless taken to be
transhistorical concepts; that is, there is no understanding of the limited
domain over which they have limited validity Note the use of Kant's notion
of critique in the passage Nicola quoted.

2. out of this set of concepts it is impossible to make sense of
capitalism's tendency towards crises of general overproduction. As Mattick
Jr notes, it was the limits of capital that suggested the limits of
political economy. He then makes some pregnant remarks about how Marx's
critique represented a development from Hegel's, itself a development from

Yours, Rakesh

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