[OPE-L:3178] the logic behind the sequence of topics to be presented

From: JERRY LEVY (jlevy@sescva.esc.edu)
Date: Sat May 13 2000 - 09:30:40 EDT

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Let me try a different tack towards the question of the "starting

So far, the emphasis has been on comprehending the "starting point"
in terms of the relation of this category to capitalism. E.g. is
the commodity that Marx presents in Ch. 1 a product of capitalist
production or is it developed under the assumed conditions of
simple commodity production?

Since we haven't been able to get consensus on an answer to that
question yet, let me ask a related question:

* Do all agree that if one is trying to present the logic of a
  complex system, one must identify all of the major components
  of that system and establish a order of presentation that
  seeks to identify the inter-relationships and inter-
  connectedness of the different parts of that system?

If so, isn't the "starting point" of the presentation part of
a larger process that seeks to identifty the order of the
categories and topics to be presented? I.e. doesn't one
have to develop a logic sequence for all of the parts of this
complex system that need to be developed? If so, then the task
of identifying the "starting point" is related to the tasks of
establishing the "end point" and the "intermediary points"
and their logical sequence.

Since Ajit mentioned the first paragraph of the "Preface" to
_A contribution ..._ earlier today, let me note that Marx
begins that paragraph with a outline of the *order* of the
subjects to be presented:

         "I examine the system of bourgeois economy in
          the following order: *capital*, *landed property*,
          *wage-labour*; *the State*, *foreign trade*,
          *world market*. The economic conditions of
          existence of the three great classes into which
          modern bourgeois society is divided are analysed
          under the first three headings; THE
          SELF-EVIDENT" (CAPITALIZATION added for emphasis, JL).

For the present, I'm going to put aside the question of the
logical sequence of the first three subjects (capital, landed
property, wage-labour) because we discussed that issue (especially
in regard to the proposed book on Wage-Labour) not long ago ...
and without coming to any agreement. Rather, I want to note that
a logical order amonmg the subjects that need to be presented
must be established *before* one presents the "starting point".
Also, I want to note that the order of the sequence is
determined by the nature of their "interconnection". Furthermore,
I want to note that Marx viewed the order of the last three
subjects (the State, foreign trade, world market) to be
"self-evident" *and* that these subjects were not systematically
developed in _Capital_. Can we, I wonder, agree that threse three
subjects need to be developed in the order in which Marx
considered so "self-evident"? Can we also agree that a
comprehension of the complex character of the subject in question
(i.e. capitalism) requires that we develop these 3 subjects at
a level of concretion which follows "capital" (or "capital in

If so, how should we go about developing these 3 subjects? Note
well that this question is clearly not a question that was
answered by Marx. Rather, it is a question which goes "beyond

In solidarity, Jerry

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