[OPE-L:7043] Re: Re: Capital & Class

From: Francisco Paulo Cipolla (cipolla@sociais.ufpr.br)
Date: Mon Apr 22 2002 - 12:03:54 EDT

Ok Jerry, I understand your point better now. It is true that a sociology of
classes is something that is not the subject of the three volumes of Capital,
and must constitute a continuous area of research as the contours of class
change continuously. But a nice indication of how this could be done is
nonetheless left there in the last chapter and can also be seen in practical
reality: how wages of workers and profits of capitalists (abstracting for a
moment from land rent) give rise to the reproduction of "grey" strata of
people: occupations of control of production, protection of property which
spring out of profits; fractions of the IRA who are mantained by "bits" of the
wages of productive workers or middle classes. If the question of productive
and unproductive labor could be settled (which is virtually impossible) then
the methos for the analysis of classes in capitalism, it seems to me, would be
to investigate into how profits and wages further divide to incorporate into
the social fabric a whole number of other "grey" social strata. Otherwise why
should the class analysis of Capital serve as the basis for the understanding
of classes in a more sociological approach?
Paulo Cipolla

gerald_a_levy wrote:

> Re Paolo C's [7026]:
> > Yes, by way of analogy I am suggesting that the whole book is about
> classes. <
> My response:  to the extent that the subject matter of _Capital_ is
> capitalism, then it is true that _Capital_ is *all* about classes.
> However, it is also true that _Capital_ is *not all* about classes.
> Indeed, one could argue that there  is *nothing* in _Capital_
> (in terms of  essential theory, rather than historical detail) about class
> (except the last two pages of VIII).
> How can it be that everything and yet nothing in _Capital_ is about class?
> Let me explain:  _Capital_ is all about class to the extent that it is all
> about the subject matter of capitalism.   It has little or nothing to do
> with  the subject of class to the extent that the subject matter of
> _Capital_ is capital rather than capitalism.  I guess I need to explain
> some more: all of the categories essential for comprehending capitalism
> in thought are can be unfolded from the  starting point (the commodity)
> in the context of a systematic dialectical presentation. Yet, _Capital_ is
> *only one*  part of that presentation. For us to grasp capitalism as a
> totality (rather than just capitalist production as a whole at the level of
> abstraction of "capital in general"), we  must comprehend classes, the
> state, foreign trade, and world  market and crisis. This is because  these
> subjects form *necessary moments*  in the unfolding in thought of  the
> subject matter of capitalism.  Thus, the  sub-subject of class must  be
> comprehended for each of the 3 major classes not merely in terms of
> generality  (or simple unity, e.g. the "collective laborer")  but in terms
> of  particularity  (difference, e.g. class divisions) and singularity
> (unity-in-difference). Similarly, the subject of the state is a *necessary*
> subject that must be grasped -- in a rich and developed form rather
> than in a merely superficial  and general way.  Similarly, because
> capitalism is an *international system* the subjects of foreign trade and
> the world market --  while presupposed  at the outset (yet *purposely*
> abstracted from) -- must be developed in a  systematic fashion for us to
> grasp capitalism in all of its moments as a totality.
> The point, then, of a word search is to emphasize this aspect that while
> Marx was *of course* aware that capitalism is all about class, the
> systematic examination of class was *not developed* in _Capital_  (it was
> merely pre-supposed) but was reserved for further *deeper*  analysis at a
> more concrete "post-Capital" level of abstraction.   Thus, the subject of
> class --  Marx correctly pointed out in the last chapter of _Capital_ -- is
> "the question to be answered next".
> In solidarity, Jerry

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