(OPE-L) Re: The last years of Karl Marx

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Mon Apr 28 2003 - 09:32:40 EDT

Paul B wrote on April 28:

> If I remember well enough Marx made a comment during this later
> time that he had 'finished with all that ***  ' when refering to the
> studies of Capital,  meaning that he had solved the basic problems.

Which letter are you referring to?

In any event, that doesn't mean that he viewed _Capital_  (I mean the
3 volumes) as "complete".   As far as I  know,  he believed that _only_
Volume One  was complete (indeed, given his comments about how he
viewed his writings as an "artistic whole",  it should be evident that he
viewed the drafts for what became Volumes 2 and Volume 3 as _not_
ready for publication and  therefore _not_ complete).  And,  it certainly
doesn't mean that he believed that he had finished with  the subjects of
competition, landed property, wage-labor, the state, foreign trade, and
world market and crisis.   Indeed, one might claim that his research on
peasant communes in Russia served not only a political purpose in terms
of  furthering connections with Russian revolutionaries  but could also have
constituted part of his research for Book 2 on "Landed Property".  Of
course, we will never know for sure. All we can ask is: have  "the basic
problems" have _really_ been solved?

> His studies of the Turkish material on Rent, his learning of Turkish eg,
> doesn't indicate  a search for an easier task to me! Remember the 'cubic
> metres' of material on the topic found by Engels after Marx's death...marx
> wanted to trace back the  historical origin of rent  as a 'turkish' form.

Marx had a tendency to get carried away with his studies -- a fate common
for many intellectuals.  As a consequence, many of his projects expanded
both in terms of the time required for research and writing and in terms of
the length of the final product (or draft).   It should not be surprising
that near the end of his life he attempted to learn more about 'new'
subjects for him. This is, after all, one of the marks of a creative and
active mind -- and there is every reason to believe that his mind was
both creative and active until the end.   He understood that learning, after
all, is a life-long process and is never complete.

In solidarity, Jerry

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