[OPE-L:7119] Frederick Engels at Highgate Cemetary -- March l7, l883

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Mon May 06 2002 - 09:33:21 EDT

In his speech at Marx's grave,  Engels claimed that "Just
as Darwin discovered the law of development of organic 
nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of 
human history".  His summary of that "law of development
of human history"  sounds very similar to Marx own 
(often criticized as simplistic) summary of his "general 
conclusion" in  the "Preface" to _A Contribution to the 
Critique of Political Economy_. 

Engels continued: "But that is not all. Marx also discovered
the special law of motion governing the present-day 
capitalist mode of production and the bourgeois society that
this mode of production has created.   The discovery of
surplus value suddenly threw light on the problem, in trying
to solve which all previous investigations, of both bourgeois
economists and socialist critics, had been groping in the 
dark"  (cited from Maximilien Rubel _Marx without myth_,
p. 330; published online at 
Look under l883 for "Articles on Karl Marx's Death".)

Yet, Engels doesn't tell us what the "special law of
motion" is.   Nor did Marx.   The _ONLY_ reference by Marx
to a "law of motion of capitalism"  was in the "Preface to the
First Edition" of  Volume One of _Capital_:  "it is the ultimate 
aim of this work to reveal the economic law of motion of modern 
society"  (Penguin ed., p. 92).   Yet, Marx did write elsewhere 
that the  discovery of surplus value was one of his most important 
theoretical contributions.  

So,  what *exactly* is the connection  that Engels had in mind 
between the law of motion and the discovery of surplus value?   
In other words:

a) what is the "special law of motion" ?; and

b) how  *exactly*  does the discovery of surplus value throw 
light on the "special law of motion"?; and 

c) why didn't Marx himself tell us what the connection was?

[On c): Marx could not reasonably infer that the reader would
understand what the "economic law of motion of modern
society" is  without explicitly stating what that law is. And,
not having stated what the law is, he could not have 
established any connection between the law and the 
"discovery" of surplus value.   Indeed, if we are to take 
Marx's  *own stated goal* for "this work" (it is unclear whether
that was a reference to VI, all of _Capital_, or all 6 books 
in the 6-book-plan), then we MUST conclude that  *Marx's
goal was not attained*  since the economic law of motion
of modern society was ultimately *not* revealed. ]

Suggested answers to above questions? Comments?

In solidarity, Jerry

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