Re: White and Luxemburg. Was: (OPE-L) New Dialectics and Critical Realism

From: Francisco Paulo Cipolla (cipolla@UFPR.BR)
Date: Thu Mar 18 2004 - 15:22:58 EST

Paul, is your article on "Accumulation of Capital: its definition.." available

Paul Zarembka wrote:

> Chris,
> Thanks for your review of White's work and I have obtained James White's
> reply; it is attached.  Did both appear in *Studies in Marxism*?
> I share White's understanding of what Luxemburg was trying to accomplish,
> against your dismissal of her work on accumulation of capital.  In fact,
> I'll up the stakes.
> Marx started *Capital* with "Commodities" and goes forward as we all well
> know, never really getting to history until the end of *Volume 1*.  Yet,
> around the time that the first edition of *Capital* was published, he
> became more and more deeply drawn into the historical question and the
> question of the penetration (or lack thereof) of capitalism into
> pre-capitalist society.  As White says,
>    "It emerged [from White's investigations] that what Marx was interested
> in at that time was the action of capital on non-capitalist societies,
> traditional agrarian communities. He began this line of inquiry not with
> Russia, but with his native Germany, using mainly the works of Maurer. But
> the country where the peasant agrarian commune was most in evidence was
> Russia, and it was to that country that he naturally turned his
> attention."
> Compare Luxemburg's *Introduction to Political Economy*.  She doesn't get
> to "Commodity Production" until her six chapter!  Her long third chapter
> is "Elements of Economic History: Primitive Communism" and used some of
> the exact same source materials as Marx was reading.  (Marx, Luxemburg and
> White all read Russian.  Incidentally, half of Luxemburg's third chapter
> is now translated into English in *The Rosa Luxemburg Reader*, edited by
> Peter Hudis and Kevin B. Anderson, Monthly Review, 2004, pp. 71-110.)
> Luxemburg goes on to feudalism and the guilds.
> In other words, Luxemburg's project became in fact what White says Marx
> was moving toward in his late years!  Pretty amazing, no?  I think
> Luxemburg came to this on her own, although apparently she did have access
> to some of Marx's unpublished materials.
> Where I might depart from White is that I think the problem with
> accumulation of capital as the extension of capitalism is already a
> problem in *Volume 1* of *Capital*, while White thinks it arises from the
> interface of *Volume 1* with *Volume 2*.  My argument appears in
> "Accumulation of Capital, Its Definition, A Century after Lenin and
> Luxemburg", *R.P.E.*, Vol. 18, pp. 183-241, and is also mentioned in my
> comment on Sayer's review of White.
> Another comment.  In my view, you over-estimate the cogency of Lenin's
> economics.  For my own evaluation, see my article last year in *Science
> and Society*, "Lenin, Economist of Production: A Ricardian Step
> Backwards".  The more carefully I read Lenin's economics, the less
> 'marxist' it became and I wouldn't use it as a standard anymore.
> In any case, I prefer your review of White's *Karl Marx and the Origins of
> Dialectical Materialism* because you clearly respect the work, in spite of
> disagreements.  I hadn't known of it before and am glad that White is
> receiving increasing attention.
> Paul
> P.S. I notice some typos in White:
> a. "Manuscript I of the second draft written in 1865": actually refers to
> Manuscript I of Volume 2.
> b. The first edition of Capital was 1867, not 1868.
> **************************************************************************
> Vol.21: Neoliberalism in Crisis, Accumulation, and Rosa Luxemburg's Legacy
> RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY, Zarembka/Soederberg, eds., Elsevier Science
> ***********************
>   ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>                  Name: Arthur.doc
>    Arthur.doc    Type: Microsoft Word Document (application/msword)
>              Encoding: BASE64

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Mar 19 2004 - 00:00:01 EST