[OPE-L:2906] Re: starting point and capital

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Wed Apr 26 2000 - 09:31:50 EDT

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Alfredo, thanks for your latest post (2891). This is a partial response.

After the posts by Andy and Nicky and Chris, does Banaji's interpretation
of Marx's "double starting point" make a little more sense to you?

I myself am not completely sure what to think about Banaji's
interpretation. I don't know enough about Hegel to understand it
completely. The main point I was making in my last post, which was a
response to Andy B, was that Banaji does not argue that there are THREE
starting points in Capital (with the concept of capital as a third
starting point).

I agree of course (and I imagine that Banaji would too) that the commodity
is the very first concept that begins Marx's theory in Capital, prior to
the value of commodities. As already discussed, the commodity is what
Banaji calls the "ANALYTICAL" starting point. From this point of
departure, Marx derived in Section 1 of Chapter 1 the value of
commodities, i.e. objectified social labor which is the common property of
commodities that determines their exchange-values.

However, Banaji argues further the value of commodities (objectified
social labor) then becomes a second starting point, what calls the
"SYNTHETIC" starting point, in the sense that all later concepts are
derived (i.e. explained) as "necessary forms of appearance" of this value
of commodities.

You may not want to call this second starting point a starting point,
because it is not the first concept in Capital, but it is a starting
point, in the sense that it is the concept from which all later concepts
are derived. All the different forms of money and capital and
surplus-value and the individual parts of surplus-value (profit, interest,
rent) are forms of appearance of objectified social labor.

This makes some sense to me. But I agree that the initial starting point
is the commodity.

In any case, the main point I wanted to emphasize in my last post, and
want to emphasize again, is that the commodity with which *Capital* begins
ahistorical commodity, and not a product of "simple commodity
production". Engels and Sweezy and Meek and Mandel and many others have
had it all wrong on this crucial point.

I think that Banaji is extremely good on this point, so I would ask anyone
interested in this issue to please read Banaji's paper.

Alfredo, do you agree with this point? If so, then I think that is a very
important point of agreement.

Looking forward to further discussion,

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