[OPE-L:6504] Re: Re: totality

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Sat Feb 02 2002 - 14:51:36 EST

re Jerry's 6503

>Remember Marx's comments about the 'eventual continuation' (separate 
>book) on 'Competition'?  From a methodological perspective, I think 
>Marx wanted to present capital as simple unity before going on to 
>present capital as difference and then unity-in-difference.  The 
>question of the segmentation and fragmentation of the capitalist 
>and the other two major social classes arises after 'the question to 
>be answered next' which is 'What makes a class?'.

Jerry, I agree that Marx leaves undertheorized the realm of 
competition especially as it operates in and through the world market.

But in another sense I think Marx has in fact complete his project of 
demonstrating the limits of the totality (I can't shug Grossman off 
my shoulder, you know).

For Marx, only once one has discoverd the average rate of profit for 
capital-as-a-whole can one discover the limits to the profit that any 
one capitalist can make. No matter whether an individual capitalist 
beats off the fall in the average rate of profit at the expense of 
other capitals, the fall in the average rate for the capitalist class 
can plunge the system into the crisis. As GA Cohen may put it: that 
only a few can fit through the escape door (micro) before it shuts 
can only be clarified by understanding the situation of the 
capitalist class itself (macro). Despite the strictures of 
methodological individualism, it seems to me quite precisely accurate 
to speak of the fate of the supra-individual entity of capital, which 
again is itself a concrete individual unlike say a generalized 
concreted abstraction such as boats-as-a-whole (row boats, aircraft 
carriers, tugboats).


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