From: Gerald A. Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sat Mar 06 2004 - 10:28:53 EST
Paolo and others: Here's a bit more to think over this weekend. 1) "how Marx would proceed in integrating the state in his overall theory of capitalism" is an interesting thought- experiment, but: a) we'll never know the answer to that question except in a *very* general way (discussed briefly below). So, it is a *speculative* question. b) while it is one of the many background questions that could be asked, should it form the starting-point for an investigation of the state? I don't think that's the best idea. One has to focus on the *subject itself* (i.e. capitalism) if one wishes to reconstruct the state in thought in a form that allows us to grasp the essential, real character of the state and its inter-connection to the CMP. This is a research task of a different order than interpreting and speculating on Marx's writings. 2) Paradoxically perhaps, some insights could be gained by *asking* whether the very broad statements that Marx wrote would be the contents of the Book on The State can serve as a suitable frame of reference for us today. That is, we could *critically* interrogate those sketchy plans by asking to what extent they are INadequate and INcomplete and INcapable of grasping the essential character of the state in bourgeois society. In what Oakley  describes as the "First *Grundrisse* plan, Marx wrote: "(3) The State as the epitome of bourgeois society. Analysed in relation to itself. The 'unproductive' classes. Taxes. National debt. Public credit. Population. Colonies. Emigration." (M&E, _Collected Works_, Volume 28, p. 45; spacing altered for visual clarity; for the slightly different wording in the Penguin ed. of the _Grundrisse_, see p. 108.) Note that the above plan in the Economic Manuscripts of 1857-58, includes what the Third *Grundrisse* plan" refers to as "The State in its external relations." "Then the *State*. (State and bourgeois society. -- Taxation, or the existence of the unproductive classes. -- The national debt. -- Population.-- The State in its external relations: Colonies. Foreign trade. Rate of exchange. Money as international coin." (Ibid, p. 195; altered as above; Penguin ed. version is on p. 264.) Later, in the '6-book-plan', "The State in its external relations" becomes simply "foreign trade" (_A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy_ in __CW_, Volume 29, p. 261). The question that I think should be asked, though, is not speculative or Marxological: namely, is the above broad outline a satisfactory first step in the reconstruction in thought of the subject matter? For example, what is the logic behind the ordering? Are there essential aspects of the subject that don't have a place in that ordering? Having the benefit of being able to examine capitalism in a more mature form than Marx witnessed, are there essential aspects of the State that weren't apparent to Marx or are in need of modification? In other words, by *critically* interrogating what Marx wrote -- keeping in mind first and foremost the subject matter itself (a slogan from the civil rights movement -- "Keep your eyes on the prize" -- comes to mind) some insights can be gained. (1) In solidarity, Jerry Note: (1) "Keep your eyes on the prize" could also be extended to mean that we should keep in mind the "prize" of a new society. That is, the 'END' should not be forgotten. Certainly Marx didn't forget it: e.g. in outlining the "Second *Grundrisse* plan", he describes "the conclusion, the world market, in which production is posited as a totality and all its movements also, but in which simultaneously all contradictions are set in motion. Hence the world market is likewise both the presupposition of the totality and its bearer. Crises are then the general pointer to beyond the presupposition, and the urge to adopt a new historical form." (_CW_, Volume 28, p. 160; for Penguin ed., see p. 227). [NB: if in the world market "all contradictions are set in motion" and if there are contradictions that arise from the state-form it follows that, according to Marx, the contradictions of the state-form come to the fore during crises. Thus, crises -- and their causes -- are not narrowly economic alone.] This point can be seen again in the Economic Manuscripts of 1857-58 in the when Marx again refers to the world market: "Finally the world market. Encroachment of bourgeois society on the State. [>>>/////what do you think *THAT* means?, JL/////<<<] Crises. Dissolution of the mode of production and form of society based upon exchange value. The real positing of individual labour as social and vice versa.)" (Ibid, p. 195; spacing altered again for visual clarity.) Reference: Oakley, A. (1983) _The Making of Marx's Critical Theory: A Bibliographical Analysis_. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul -------------- > Thank you Jerry. IŽll think it over during the week-end.
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