[OPE-L:5647] Re: the division of labor in a dialectical systematic theory of capitalism?

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Tue May 22 2001 - 20:23:02 EDT

Ajit wrote in [5641]:

> To the best of my knowledge, I was the first 
> one,  probably still the only one writing on value
> theory, who took  Beamish's work seriously and
> commented on it in my 'A Critique of Part one of
> *Capital* one: The  Value Controversy
> Revisited', RIPE, 1996. In my opinion, Ali
> Rattansi's  work on division of labor in Marx is
> probably the best one

Beamish believes that his book and Rattanasi's
book 'complement each other'.  Yet, he notes
that the specific issue addressed by Rattanasi
(the question of the evolution of Marx's thinking
on the topic of the abolition of the division of
labor) is different from the focus of his book (see
Beamish, pp. 8-9).  He addresses the significance
of the division of labor for Marx's *method*
shortly beforehand (Ibid, pp. 5-8).

The reason I raised the Beamish book in
connection with this thread is because, imo,
he makes a very compelling case that one of
Marx's central theoretical concerns from 1842
through the publication of Volume 1 was the
division of labor in capitalist society. What I
think is most noteworthy is Beamish's detailed
sequential examination of all of Marx's writings
on this subject throughout the period including
his study notebooks, unpublished drafts, and
correspondence.  I don't think anyone can come
away from a reading of the Beamish book with
a belief that the issues surrounding conceptualizing
the division of labor were deemed by Marx to be
of only passing non-essential interest. This raises
the question that I posed to our VFT comrades
about the role of the division of labor (and
related topics such as manufacture and machinery
and 'modern industry') in  dialectical systematic
theory.  In other words, why is there this 'gap'
in the presentation?  Do they view it as only
non-essential historical detail?  Is it merely
"Vorstellung"  (translated by Tony S as 'picture-
thinking' or 'imaginary representation')?  If so,
then the Beamish book might suggest that they
attach far less importance to that subject -- rightly
or wrongly -- than did Marx.

In solidarity, Jerry


Rob Beamish _Marx, method, and the division of
     labor_, Urbana, University of Illinois Press,

Ali Rattansi _Marx and the division of labor_,
     London, The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1982
     (note that because of the difference in
     publication dates, Beamish had access to
     a number of important sources that Rattansi
     was not able to examine, e.g. Marx's study

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Jun 02 2001 - 00:00:08 EDT