[OPE-L:6502] totality

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Sat Feb 02 2002 - 05:56:50 EST

any comments appreciated.

By vol 3, Marx is nearing his descent to the concrete totality, yet 
Marx seems not interested in *individual* capitals even as he 
approaches them because any one individual capital does not yield--as 
a result of the variance in compositions--surplus value at the same 
rate as would the *typical particular* capitalist (that is, the 
prototype of or a perfect aliquot of the whole class; Meek links 
Marx's typical particular of a capital of average composition to 
Sraffa's standard commodity).

In vol 3 Marx remains more interested in total surplus value produced 
by all the individual capitals, and it is only in terms of 
capital-as-a-whole that the total mass of surplus value can be 
defined, and the average rate of profit determined. 
Capital-as-a-whole is thus revealed to be itself a concrete unit with 
its own specific attributes.

So even as Marx comes to appreciate fully individuality, as opposed 
to typical particularity, in the multiplicity of capitals, he is not 
ultimately interested in the the multiplicity or aggregate of 
individual capitals but with the concrete individual that is itself 
capital as a whole.

Itself a concrete individual, capital-as-a-whole is thus not like 
say boats-as-a whole which is merely a *generalized concrete 
abstraction* for small open craft, ocean liners, battleships and and 
exchange carriers.

In this latter case the members are of course more concrete than the 
abstract class.

But in the case of capital-as-a-whole, the class itself has been 
concretized in that it alone has attributes that its members, as 
individuals *abstracted* from that class, do not.

The capitalist *class* is not a not a mere plurality of capitals; it 
is itself a fairly concrete unit.

I do not think we have here a  fallacy of misplaced concreteness or 
an error of hypostatizing.

Though I do not know whether I am making sense either.

And it may be that the fault should be put on capitalist social 
relations, not those social scientists who reject methodological 
individualism which seems only to accord concreteness to members, not 
classes. Such a stricture may be illsuited for the very society that 
produces the standpoint of the individualist.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Mar 02 2002 - 00:00:04 EST