[OPE-L:5251] Re: Re: 'is' capital productive or is that how it 'appears'

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@msn.com)
Date: Sat Mar 24 2001 - 09:47:14 EST

Re Chris's [5425]:

> Sorry to be so long picking up this thread.

No problem. It's good to hear from you.

> I do not have the German to hand but I did check it out and it is 'is'.
> this does not settle the matter  because throughout Marrx's work, in this
> context he sometimes says 'is' and sometimes 'appears as'. This leaves
> three poss.
> 1. Marx is confused
> 2. He means them as synonyms
> 3. the reality is ambiguous and Marx has different aspects in mind at
> different times.
>  'appears as' is certainly ambiguous: sometimes it means appears as what
> is and sometimes it means appears as something different. Thus 'the
> electric discharge appears as lightening' 'Olivier appeared as Othello'.
> I believe 2 is the likely explanation but I would give 3 a hearing.

In the quote cited ("Results..." in Volume 1,
Penguin ed., p. 1065), Marx doesn't say that
capital is productive of surplus value.  Thus, in
(1) while he writes that capital is/appears
productive as "the *compulsion to surplus
labour*,  he immediately then writes "...if
labour is *productive*...."  This might mean
that capital is part of the productive process
in terms of being *located within* the production
process rather than being itself productive of
surplus value.

Furthermore, the compulsion to surplus labor
is a *precondition* for surplus value. Yet, simply
because it is a precondition does not mean that it
is *itself* productive of s.  Similarly, security
guards might be seen as being a necessary element
located within the capitalist production process in
many industries (e.g. in diamond mines), but this
does not make that labor itself productive of s.

Earlier, on p. 1048. Marx wrote that: "As a
representative of *productive capital* engaged
in the process of self-expansion, the capitalist
performs a *productive* function. It consists
in the direction and exploitation of productive

Note that he doesn't say that the capitalist is
productive of s. Quite the contrary. The capitalist,
operating within the production process, directs
and exploits the labor of productive labor.

And, he makes this point clearer in the following:

"(As the director of the labour process the
capitalist performs *productive labour* IN THE
SENSE THAT his labour is INVOLVED IN the
TOTAL process that is REALIZED in the product"
(Ibid, emphasis with capitalization added, JL).

Thus,  the capitalist is not productive of surplus
value but is rather 'productive'  in the sense that
s/he is INVOLVED in the total production

I agree, though, that there is some ambiguity in
these passages. Perhaps there would be less
ambiguity had Marx edited the "Results..." and
prepared it for publication.

In solidarity, Jerry

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