[OPE-L:3099] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jerry, Don't be Aghast!!!

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Wed May 10 2000 - 12:39:24 EDT

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Hi Patrick,
I recently saw Francis Wheen's biography of Marx in the bookstore. Noticed
the few pages in which he makes the point that Marx's part I of Capital 1
was the greatest satire written in the English since Swift. Of course this
point is not entirely new as Wheen seems to think. William J Blake, Edmund
Wilson, Lucio Colletti, Maurice Godelier, Paul Mattick Jr and Robert Paul
Wolff have all had an ear for Marx's deconstruction of the absurd
metaphysics and theological inanities implied in generalized commodity
exchange. But I think Wheen is right that Marx has been basically
misinterpreted for over one hundred years (though do note how brilliantly
Blake uses boxes of chocolate and pencils in the equivalent form to bring
out Marx's fetishism critique, Sweezy basically left undiscussed the
analysis of value *form* [the form in which value is expressed] and thus
the dazzling fetish power of money, which is why I think Blake's remains
the greatest textbook ever written on Marx more than sixty years later,
Blake was a very good friend of Grossmann's who was as you know the most
important figure in the recovery of Marx's 'economics' :). The only problem
is that it a 700 page plus popularization, long out of print and very weak
on the transformation problem and oblivious to the power of linear algebra.

At any rate, how could not one be amused just ten pages into Capital, see
pp. 142-143 of the Vintage ed by which point the problem is already solved
and Marx is now referring to gold braided uniforms, a new father of his
people, sheep like Christians and the Lamb of God, Fichtean philosophers
and Peter and Paul.

Yours, Rakesh

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