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

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Mon Sep 11 2006 - 09:57:17 EDT

>  Now I'm not interested in Marxological debate
> on this question. But I think a more interesting
> question from theoretical perspective would be to
> ask: what is surplus?

Hi Ajit:

If we, as you suggest, put aside the Marxological debate
then that leaves us with the question:  if one wants to theorize
the subject matter of capitalism, what are the analytical sub-
subjects which need to be theorized, what is their logical
connection, and what are their inter-connections?

"What is surplus?" is a trans-historical question: all
class societies have a surplus product. (whether there is also
surplus value produced depends, of course, on the definitions
and analysis that one is using).   The theorization of capitalism
as a specific subject (rather than the theorization of a general
history of modes of production) requires that we move beyond
that question to ask and explicate the answer to:  what
distinguishes the capitalist mode of production from other
modes and what is the character and the developmental
tendencies and 'contradictions'/'antagonisms' of that mode?

If you oppose the conception of capitalism and inter-relationship
among sub-subjects expressed in the 6-book-plan, then one
still has to put forward an analysis in which all of the essential topics
and logical moments related to the subject (capitalism) are grasped.

So, my question to you (note well that I am following your suggestion
that the Marxological question be put aside) is: how are the subjects of
capital and wage-labor, capital and landed property, wage-labor and
landed property, capital and the state, wage-labor and the state,
landed property and the state, foreign trade and the 3 major classes,
foreign trade and the state,  the world-market and capital, the world
market and the working class, the world market and landed property,
and the world market and capitalism as a whole theorized together?  Do
you reject the idea that these topics need to be theorized together to
understand the subject of capitalism as a whole?; do you have a
suggestion for an alternative framework for better understanding this
subject as a whole?  Let me suggest to you that the question is not
"what is surplus?" -- it is how do we fully answer 'what is capitalism?"
and how does it as a (you are not going to like this word) "totality"

In solidarity, Jerry

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