[OPE-L:2891] starting point and capital

From: Asfilho@aol.com
Date: Mon Apr 24 2000 - 06:25:18 EDT

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Two comments on the very interesting exchange:

(1) I do not understand Banaji's argument that there is a double
starting-point in Capital. Chris Arthur, Tony Smith, Reuten & Williams and
others have argued forcefully that systematic dialectics can reconstruct the
main categories of Marx's analysis from a *single* starting point which, as I
understand it, is the commodity *as the product of capital*.

If this is true, I simply *do not see how* it would make sense to argue that
Capital somehow needs, or has, a *double* starting point. (By starting point
I mean the category with which one starts a systematic reconstruction of the
capitalist mode of production.) What exactly does one gain by positing a
double starting point? And what is the difference between Banaji's view of
the beginning and the systematic dialectic analyses I have mentioned above?

(2) Fred says that 'The essence of capital - dM - cannot be explained solely
on the basis of capital itself … The explanation of dM requires something
outside of capital, the opposite of capital: wage-labor. A necessary
condition of the existence of capital is the external existence of labor.'

I do not agree with this because - as I understand it - capital is a social
relation which is defined by (and includes) the separation of the workers
from the means of production, wage labour, and generalised commodity
production for profit *simultaneously*. If I am right, wage labour is not
*outside* of capital, or *external* to capital - it *is* capital, and capital
cannot be conceived, posited or defined without wage labour.

Fred also tells us that Dussel argues that 'labor confronts capital as a
subject outside of capital' - I am, again, unclear about this: how can wage
labour be thought of as something that exists outside of capital, when wage
labour as the *social form of labour* arises, in theory and in history, out
of the primitive accumulation of *capital*?

My argument obviously implies that capital, wage labour, surplus value and
class struggle are grounded simultaneously and belong to the *same* level of

Of course, this does *not* mean that Marx 'should' have started Capital with
any of them. However, these are the main subjects of his analysis.


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