Re: [OPE-L] Capital in General

From: John Milios (jmilios@HOL.GR)
Date: Mon Oct 10 2005 - 13:09:30 EDT

Michael L.,

In support of Michael H.'s argument I would say the following:Initially Marx
reflected on the distinction between causal determinants and forms of
appearance [a distinction which, as you point out, Marx never abandoned] on
the basis of the concept of "capital in general", as opposed to the
"competition of many capitals" (whereby the latter became comprehensible as
the form of appearance of the former). He clearly distinguished then not
only between the hidden causal relathionships of the capitalist mode of
production and their forms of appearance, but also between these causal
relationships -the "laws of capitalism"- (capital in general) and THE MANY
CAPITALS (individual capital), which he considered belonging to the forms of
appearance. However, his analysis of the formation of the general rate of
profit led him to an understanding of competition also as a determining
factor of capitalist relations ("laws"). Thus, in CAPITAL he abandoned the
notion of "capital in general" (as OPPOSED TO the many capitals) and
formulated the concepts of SOCIAL CAPITAL (involving all causalities of the
capital relation on the level of the whole economy, but having also
empirical articulations, i.e. dimensions referring to empirical regularities
-e.g. the "production prices") on the one hand, and INDIVIDUAL CAPITAL on
the other.

In solidarity,


-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of michael a. lebowitz
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 6:58 AM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Capital in General

Let me just sneak a point in here (after which I'll run back to hide
again) in support of Jerry's points. If Marx has dropped the idea of capital
in general (as distinct from the real existence of capitals in competition),
what else could he mean in Vol. I, Ch. 13 by 'the general and necessary
tendencies of capital must be distinguished from their forms of appearance'
(Marx, Vintage: 1977: 433)?
         michael (L)

At 22:48 09/10/2005, you wrote:
> > What
> > are your arguments for the assumption that "general nature of capital"
> > is the same as "Capital in General"?
> > The two terms sound a little bit similar because of  the word
> > "general", but I suppose this is not your main reason. Probably your
> > main reason is the hint to "competition", which is excluded. What
> > Marx excludes from his presentation in "Capital" is the "competition on
the world market"
> > respectivly (in Hannos quotation) the "actual movement of
> > competition", what is also related to the world market as the first
> > sentence makes clear. In both passages Marx didn't exclude  a n y
> > competition from his presentation, but the "actual competition",
> > which takes place on the world market.
>Hi Michael H:
>I'm happy you joined the conversation.
>The argument that I would make that "capital in general" and the
>"general nature of capital"  are basically synonymous is by considering
>those references in context.
>But, let's not stop there.
>The analysis of  "capital in general" is _also_ synonymous with the
>"general analysis of capital".
>In Vol. 3, Ch. 14,  Section 2 , Marx  writes [re a reduction of wages
>below their value]: " many other things that might be brought
>in, it has nothing to do with the general analysis of capital
>["allgemeinen Analyse des Kapitals" in the original German, JL], but
>has its place in an account of competition, which is not dealt with in
>this work" (Penguin ed., p. 342).
>Note in this section:
>a) the reference is to the "account of competition" rather than the
>actual competition on the world market.
>b) there is the explicit claim that an account of competition is not
>dealt with in _Capital_.
>c) this subject of a reduction in wages below their value is a tendency
>which is not claimed to be exclusive to the world market.  In fact,
>there is no mention at all of the world market in this section.
>d) this same subject has analytical importance: "It is none the less
>one of the most important factors in stemming the tendency for the rate
>of profit to fall."
>How would you interpret the meaning of the "general analysis of
>capital" in this section?
>In solidarity, Jerry

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at Residencias Anauco Suites
Departamento 601 Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1 Caracas,
(58-212) 573-4111
fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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