[OPE-L:3053] Re: empirical verification of interpretations of Marx?

From: Jerry Levy (jerry_levy@usa.net)
Date: Mon May 08 2000 - 12:48:51 EDT

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Re Rakesh's [OPE-L:3043]:

Canaan won't help Paul M Jr.: Smith begins with the *division of
labor* rather than the commodity. Moreover, for AS the division of
labor is a more elementary category for comprehending capitalism than
the commodity since AS tends to view the social relations characteristic of
bourgeois society as eternal and natural. Furthermore (as mentioned
previously), Ricardo begins with value rather than the commodity and views
exchange-value and value as more elementary categories. So, the commodity was
*not* the "most elementary with respect to capitalist society *as theorized by
classical theory".

Moreover, Marx *never* claimed that this was the reason he began his
presentation with the commodity. Indeed, he suggested a *different* reason
(in the first sentence of _Capital_) for why he began with the commodity than
that suggested by Paul M. Indeed, Marx never suggested that the starting
point of *his* theory had *any* necessary relationship to the point of
departure of classical theory. This would seem to be very confusing if one
views _Capital_ as *merely* a critique of political economy. However, if one
interprets the subject matter of _Capital_ as *capitalism* (rather than
critique of p.e. *alone*) it makes more sense. It especially makes sense if
one accepts that the purpose of his theory was to "lay bare the economic law
of motion of modern society".

In solidarity, Jerry

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