Re: [OPE-L] Grundrisse. Help

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Thu Jul 27 2006 - 02:05:32 EDT

Hi Jurriaan and all,

What about this one -- from the Grundrisse, v. 42, p. 385:

"Das Surplusprodukt -- das uebrigens legal bestimmt wird infolge der
wirklichen Aneignung durch Arbeit -- gehoert damit von selbst dieser
hoechsten Einheit."

This is from the beginning of Forms that Precede Capitalist Production and
occurs as part of the description of the Asiatic mode.  The interest of
course is in the way translation communicate the relation between the legal
determination of the surplus product and its real appropriation through

Plainly the real appropriation has to come first.  But I don't think much is
said beyond that.  The difficulty is with "infolge".  Both Nicolaus and v.
28 translate it as "in consequence of."  This suggests that the actual form
of the determination is in consequence of.  The Cohen translation in the
edition edited by Hobsbawn translates it as "in terms of" which doesn't help
either, but at least there the difficulty is called attention to by
including the German in brackets.

Here's Nicolaus:

"The surplus product -- which is, incidentally, determined by law in
consequence of the real appropriation through labour -- thereby
automatically belongs to this highest unity."

Here's Cohen:  "It therefore follows that the surplus product (which,
incidentally, is legally determined in terms of [infolge] the real
appropriation through labour) belongs to this higher unity."

Again the problem is that these suggest that forms of law are determined in
their structure and form by the real appropriation through labor.  Forms of
law certainly correspond to the forms in which the surplus product is pumped
out of the direct producer, but that is not what's being said here.  All
that's being said, I think, is that without real appropriation talk about
legal form is empty blathering.

My dictionary offers "owing to" as an alternative.  Wouldn't that make more
sense?  The surplus product is (or can be) legally determined owing to its
real appropriation through labor.

Correct me if I'm wrong.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jurriaan Bendien" <adsl675281@TISCALI.NL>
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2006 9:58 AM
Subject: [OPE-L] Grundrisse. Help

> Jerry,
> What Nicolaus does, is provide an "analytical contents list" based on
> own (which marx compiled in February 1859), but sometimes changed, which
> sometimes helpful, but sometimes reflects more his own interpretation of
> what Marx is concerned with (some of the texts to which Marx himself
> are missing, i.e. the notebooks were never found).
> I think the CW edition is often better English, but just as with the
> edition, sometimes concepts are misinterpreted given the wrong name. I do
> not have the CW edition handy here, so that I can give examples though.
> Insofar as we are talking about draft manuscripts, I think I'd personally
> prefer to see them arranged in the real order they were written. The
> annotations of the CW edition and Pelican edition are sometimes different.
> am not sure that the CW edition is necessarily "qualitatively better", the
> differences are not so great as far as I remember.
> My experience with students of these kinds of texts is that it doesn't
> matter so much, what English translation you use, people will get the
> anyway if they try. But a scholar wants to get very precise, very exact.
> in that case, you should really read the original German, and one solution
> would be to print the German and English text side by side.
> The real advantage of the MEGA 2 is that you get both the original text,
> plus good scholarly annotation of it, whereas usually people publishing
> have tried to present him according to their own biases.
> Actually, Nicolaus is often not so "literal" as he claims, and sometimes
> becomes a bit obscure. For an example:
> Marx: "Dem einzelnen Individuum gegenuber erscheint naturlich die
> Distribution als ein gesellschaftliches Gesetz, das seine Stellung
> der Produktion bedingt, innerhalb deren es produziert, die also der
> Produktion vorausgeht. Das Individuum hat von Haus aus kein kapital, kein
> Grundeigentum. Es ist von Geburt auf die Lohnarbeit angewiesen durch
> diegesellschaftige Distribution. Aber dies Angewiesensein selbst ist das
> Resultat, dass Kapital, Grundeigentum als selbstandige Produktionsagenten
> existieren." (Grundrisse, EVA Verlag, p. 17).
> Nicolaus: "To the single individual, of course, distribution appears as a
> social law which determines his position within the system of production
> within which he produces, and which therefore precedes production. The
> individual comes into the world possessing neither capital or land. Social
> distribution assigns him at birth to wage labour. But this situation of
> being assigned is itself a consequence of the existence of capital and
> landed property as independent agents of production." (Nicolaus edition,
> 96)
> Alternative translation: "To the single individual facing it, distribution
> obviously appears as a social law, which defines his place in the
> process within which he produces, and which thus precedes production. From
> the outset the individual has no capital, and owns no land. He is from
> made dependent on wage labour by social distribution. But this dependency
> itself is the result of the fact that capital and landed property exist as
> independent agents of production."
> As you can see, the differences are slight and the basic meaning remains
> much the same. Nevertheless the translator has to invent something beyond
> literal rendering to make it credible English. Nicolaus has e.g. decided
> translate "Angewiesensein" as the "situation of being assigned" but it
> also be translated as "depending upon" in the sense of "being forced to
> resort to/rely upon". Marx does not specifically say "The individual comes
> into the world possessing neither capital or land", he says "From the
> the individual has no capital, and owns no land". But the general point
> remains the same, whatever the nuances.
> Jurriaan

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