From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Mon Jun 21 2004 - 13:09:35 EDT
Hi Paul, Your point about the juridical subject in PCEF is interesting and bears close consideration. But in rereading just now, I wonder if I earlier misread this paragraph: > My feeling is that the category 'producing subject' used in pre-capitalist > economic formations, is a modified form of the category of juridical > subject. If we follow Pahukanis this category arises from commodity > exchange and should not be applied to pre-commodity exchange situations. > I take it as given that the philosophical subject is in turn a highly > abstracted ideological development of this juridical category. Are you saying that there is no juridical subject apart from commodity exchange? I mean a slave in the ancient world was defined as someone who was excluded from exchange and so wasn't a juridical subject of exchange in that sense, but the relationship of slavery was certainly given juridical characterization and form. So too with forms of tenure and bondage in medieval law. I guess there are two senses of 'subject' in play. But why do you think the 'producing subject' in PCEF is derivative of a subject with active rights and duties in exchange? Also, why wouldn't the philosophical subject be derived from the forms of economic life mediated by legal and political forms as well as other forms of consciousness? Why just juridical? I haven't looked back at Pashukanis in a good long while, but, as insightful as he is, if the juridical form is exclusively a result of commodity exchange, then Marx is wrong to say that forms of state, including forms of law, are generated by the relationship of direct production which accounts for the pumping out of surplus labor. That is, Pashukanis's proposition poses this problem theoretically: Juridical relations for Marx are relations of force, so the juridical subject is the subject of a relation of force. What is the relation of force that binds exchangists? Suppose I agree with you that I will deliver coals to Newcastle and you promise to pay. But when I deliver, you tell me you've found other coal available. I can't secure the conditions of my own reproduction unless I can hold you to your bargain, and so force is required. This is important, but it is superficial compared to the relation of force that separates workers from the means of production and then binds them to it. The Newcastle scenario can explain why we have the notion that everybody is equal before the law - ie it can explain the form of appearance of much familiar to us in law just as market relations provide forms of appearance for social production - but it can't fully explain law's structural form, ie why forms of association become critical to the development of modern law or what explains the form of subordination that characterizes the employment relationship juridically. So I hesitate to make the argument turn on Pashukanis, though I have to look back at his book. Anyway, that doesn't address the question of whether the producing subject in PCEF is presented as a juridical subject, however a juridical subject be characterized. I'll have a look at the text. Here's a different take on interpreting inconsistencies in Marx: in theory, as in other things, as a pragmatic matter at a certain point inquiry has to end and you act one way or another. But as long as inquiry is ongoing, I tend to learn more if I assume I'm the one that doesn't get it. Second, as far as the drafts and working notes of a lifetime go, one thing is certain - whatever inconsistencies there might be in mine, if you reviewed them you'd find a whole lot more than were actually there because you wouldn't understand my abbreviations, half references, lacunae understood, etc., nor could you retrace a thread I might be able to recapture instantly. So, until I have to do otherwise, I read on the assumption I'm dealing with an intelligible whole. Howard ----- Original Message ----- From: "Paul Cockshott" <wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK> To: <OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU> Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2004 5:18 PM Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Value of slaves was Money, mind and the ontological status of value > Howard > --------- > But I reject the proposition that the argument I offered relied on the > perspective of the juridical subject. I was trying to recall Marx's > argument from PreCapitalist Economic Formations, and I did not get it wrong. > For me this has always raised the same problem you have raised. There seems > a contradiction between the argument in v. III from the Chapter on Labor > Rent that > > "It is always the direct relationship of the owners of the conditions of > production to the direct producers -- a relation always naturally > corresponding to a definite stage in the development of the methods of labor > and thereby its social productivity -- which reveals the innermost secret, > the hidden basis of the entire social structure . . . " > > and the argument of PCEF that slaves are to be "place[d] among the > *inorganic conditions* of the conquering tribe's reproduction." [Marx's > emphasis] (417). (All pages references are to v. 28). > > He goes on "Property -- and this applies to its Asiatic, Slavonic, ancient > [classical] and Germanic forms -- therefore originally means the relation of > the working (producing) subject (or the subject reproducing himself) to the > conditions of his production or reproduction as his own." (419) > > That the producing subject here is not the slave is reflected in the > immediately following paragraph: > > "Slavery, serfdom, etc., where the labourer himself appears among the > natural conditions of production for a third individual or community . . . > and where property therefore is no longer the relation of the independently > working individual to the objective conditions of labor -- is always > secondary, never original . . . ." > ---------------------- > Paul Cockshott > -------------- > > I think there is a contradiction here between the capital chapter > and the pre-capitalist economic formations formulation. > > It is something that I have often argued with Greg Michaelson about. > He takes the same position as you on this. > > My feeling is that the category 'producing subject' used in pre-capitalist > economic formations, is a modified form of the category of juridical > subject. If we follow Pahukanis this category arises from commodity > exchange and should not be applied to pre-commodity exchange situations. > I take it as given that the philosophical subject is in turn a highly > abstracted ideological development of this juridical category. > > I don't think we have the right to demand complete consistency from > Marx on this since we are dealing with a collection of working notes > in the case of the pre-capitalist economomic formations text, and > an unfinished draft in the case of capital 3. We would all expose > inconsistencies if our lifetimes working notes were carefully examined!
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