Re: [OPE-L] 'primitive' or 'original', etc.

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Mon Sep 11 2006 - 07:01:32 EDT

--- Rakesh Bhandari <bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU> wrote:

> Again did Marx abandon the 6 book plan? If so, why?
> If not how much
> of it did he finish? Only a section of the first
> book? Three or of
> the six books? I wished this debate could have
> continued; Oakley
> provides a great service in laying out the possible
> positions.
> The assimilation of  the Physiocratic theory may
> well have made him
> overturn everything and abandon for theoretical
> reasons the six book
> plan.
Mike L and I had a long debate on this question on
pen-l way back in 1991-92 (if my memory serves me
right). I think Lapides' book on Marx's Wage Theory--a
book I was quite critical of in my review in
RRPE--makes some good points against the 6 book plan
thesis. Now I'm not interested in Marxological debate
on this question. But I think a more interesting
question from theoretical perspective would be to to
ask: what is surplus? From a purely objective
scientific point of view, there cannot be any surplus
as every effect must have a sufficient cause.
'surplus' is essentially a concept that can come into
being only from some subject's point of view. From a
purely technical point of view, the output over and
above the minimum requirements of production must be
declared surplus (Sraffa's position) but for Marx
whatever happens to be over and above the physical
(C+V) is surplus--this is a point of view of all the
propertied class taken together. If we call the
propertied class as the capitalist class, then Marx's
surplus is defined from the capitalist point of view
and since the surplus is the central concept of
CAPITAL, one could, to some extent, agree with Mike
that CAPITAL is written from the 'capitalist point of
view' (I have not seen the 2nd edition and don't know
if there has been any substantial changes). However, I
don't think CAPITAL could be written from any other
point of view. Now, to write a book of the same nature
as CAPITAL from the wage-labor point of view, one will
first of all need to ask: what will be the 'surplus'
from the wage-labor's point of view?

Note: Marx follows Quesnay closely in defining
'productive labor' as productive of 'surplus', this is
not the case with Smith. The point that something
fundamental might have changed in Marx's mind after
reading Quesnay should be looked at seriously. Cheers,
ajit sinha

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Sep 30 2006 - 00:00:06 EDT