[OPE-L:6465] RE: Marx and the bible

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Wed Jan 30 2002 - 09:31:28 EST

In [6464] Andy asked about the meaning of the biblical 
reference in Vol 1, Ch 24, Section 3:

"Accumulate, accumulate! That is Marx and the prophets!"

The bible is *not* my area of expertise, but the reference
might be related to the command to "Go forth and multiply!".

Some comments:

1) Marx doesn't tell us why he used this reference.

2) If my 'go forth and multiply' supposition is correct, then
it is not a very good analogy, imo.  The biblical command
to multiply was a command to reproduce *themselves* 
(i.e. have more children).  As an ethic, this is certainly
something that not just in the bible but in many other
societies pre-dates capitalism.  The capitalist ethic of
accumulation is not a call to reproduce themselves as
a class in greater numbers. Indeed, the meaning of the
concentration and centralization of capital and 
proletarianization suggest that the capitalist class is
*not* multiplied alongside the accumulation of capital.
Perhaps the underlying problem has its origin in the
character-mask assumption: i.e.  there is a distinction 
between capital and capitalists which is not observed
in the 'capital personified' assumption.  In other words,
if capitalists were only capital personified, then they
would be driven to multiply themselves ('living capital'
so to speak).  Yet, this is not the case.

3) Never one to shy away from controversy, let me
note that the above reference -- given the prevailing
anti-Semitism in Europe in Marx's time and given a
history by Marx  of making anti-Semitic comments in 
his personal correspondence  (of course this is known 
to us but was not known to the contemporary readers
of _Capital_) --  is suggestive of a popular prejudice
in Europe at the time: the identification of Jews with
money-making, saving, and lending. 

In solidarity, Jerry

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