[OPE-L:7453] Re: Formal subsumption and putting-out

From: clyder@gn.apc.org
Date: Wed Jul 24 2002 - 06:15:30 EDT

Mensaje citado por Gil Skillman <gskillman@mail.wesleyan.edu>:

> Now, on the passage you cited.  First, as you'll see from my reply to John 
> Milios, I think the economic logic undergirding this passage is suspect at 
> best, and believe that Marx largely drops this "dependency" (i.e., 
> monopsony) interpretation of increasing capitalist control of production in 
> his economic writings after the Grundrisse.
> But second, and more to the point, as I understand it *no* passage in 
> Grundrisse, let alone this particular one, can possibly be taken to speak 
> to the issue of what *Marx* meant by "formal subsumption of labor under 
> capital," since Marx did not introduce this analytical distinction until 
> the Economic Manuscript of 1861-63, 3 years after he finished the 
> Grundrisse notebooks.  The notions of formal and real subsumption of labor 
> under capital are thus nowhere to be found in the Grundrisse.

does not the formal/actual subsumption parallel his later use of
the distinction between manufacture and modern industry. I take the
distinction between these to be the mature form of the concept that
is prefigured in the Grundrisse
> As far as I know, Marx first introduces the notion of "formal subsumption" 
> early on in the EM 61-63 in the following passage:
> "This *formal* subsumption of the labour process, the assumption of control 
> over it by capital, consists in the worker's subjection as worker to the 
> supervision and therefore to the command of capital or the 
> capitalist."  [Marx-Engels Collected Works, V. 30, p93]
> This definition of formal subsumption is then consistently maintained in 
> other passages discussing the phenomenon in the Ec Mss 61-63 and the 
> Resultate, from which I quoted in my previous post.  So far, Marx never 
> contradicts his initial stipulation that formal subsumption involves direct 
> capitalist supervision over the production process.  To the contrary, he 
> associates this new form of worker subordination with the achievement of 
> *absolute* surplus value relative to the surplus value that exists under 
> preceding forms of the circuit of capital, associated with the greater 
> continuity and scale of labor performed under capitalist supervision.
> As a corollary, Marx repeatedly asserts that the rural 
> handicraft/buyer-up/putter-out relation *did not* constitute an instance of 
> formal subsumption of labor under capital.  Besides the passage from the 
> Resultate that says just that, quoted in my previous post, also see these 
> passages from the EM 61-63:  [Marx-Engels CW, V. 30, p. 270; V. 34, pp. 96, 
> 117-19, 144]
> And finally, Marx maintains this distinction in Volume I of Capital:
> "It will be sufficient if we merely refer to certain hybrid forms, in 
> which...the producer has not yet become formally subordinate to 
> capital.  In these forms, capital has not yet acquired a direct control 
> over the labour process.  Alongside the independent producers, who carry on 
> their handicrafts or their agriculture in the inherited, traditional way, 
> there steps the usurer or merchant with his usurer's or merchant's capital, 
> which feeds on them like a parasite."  [p. 645, Penguin]
> Note I'm not suggesting that you don't have a more economically coherent 
> notion of "formal subsumption" than Marx.  Perhaps you do, and that would 
> be an interesting line to pursue.  But in any case, it does not appear to 
> be *Marx's* conception of the term.
> Gil  

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