[OPE-L:3180] Re: the logic behind the sequence of topics to be presented

From: nicola taylor (nmtaylor@carmen.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Sat May 13 2000 - 14:03:31 EDT

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In response to Jerry [OPE-L:3178]:
>* 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?

Agreed. I consider that the "system" of interest (for Marx) is capitalist
commodity production, and the logic of that system requires a categorical
development different to that which might be applied to other "systems" or
forms of commodity production. i.e. the objective of understanding
capitalism requires a systematic dialectic development of categories and
the relationships among categories. But I guess that for some listmembers
the "system" of interest is not confined to capitalist commodity
production. Is a systematic dialectic development of categories developed
as a way to understand the capitalist system also applicable to the
analysis of non-market economies? This I doubt.

>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.

Yes. But establishing the "end point" and the "intermediary points" of the
logical sequence (hence the starting points) will itself depend on how Marx
is interpreted. i.e. what is the "system" of interest to which the
researcher intends to apply Marx. For example, does the "complex system"
include peasant agriculture, or is it a model of capitalism in "pure" (wage
labour) form? Do we need to answer these questions before continuing with
your proposal? Forgive me if I'm being obtuse, and these questions aren't
relevant./comradely, Nicky

>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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