[OPE-L:3074] Re: Jerry, Don't be Aghast!!!

From: JERRY LEVY (jlevy@sescva.esc.edu)
Date: Tue May 09 2000 - 15:49:17 EDT

[ show plain text ]

Re Patrick's [OPE-L:3069]:

I am aghast!

Patrick claims that Marx's "one sentence summary" of the meaning of
_Capital_ is:

"Accumulate, accumulate, that is the law of Moses and the prophets".

(1) Marx never claimed that this summarized his perspective.

(2) While your take on the above quote is very clever and original,
    I have a simpler (and less clever and original) interpretation:
    Capitalist can use surplus value for the purposes of
    unproductive consumption or they can invest it in c + v on
    an expanded scale, i.e. they can use it for the purposes of
    accumulation. When Marx makes the above claim, closely
    connected to his claim that capitalists act as if they are
    "capital personified" he is making the *assumption* that
    capitalists are wearing their "character masks" and are
    thereby agents who seek to maximize the accumulation of

(3) It should be noted that some level of unproductive consumption
    of surplus value is absolutely required for the reproduction
    of the capitalist class. Thus the imperitive to accumulate
    on an expanded scale is limited in part by the consumption
    requirements of the capitalist class.

(4) At the place that Marx writes the above in Volume 1, he has
    still not analysed competition ("many capitals"). Thus, the
    force of competition can not be the fundamental causal
    mechanism justifying the above. Rather, it has to be
    explained in terms of the valorization process.

Consequently, while it is a ery catchy and ofte-quoted passage,
it can in no way be seen as being a summary of _Capital_.

I will not comment here on the rest of your post.

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed May 31 2000 - 00:00:08 EDT