[OPE-L] Six book plan, foreign trade

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sun Sep 24 2006 - 13:13:30 EDT


You wrote:

"So we have an open and always already incomplete book but Marx's
Capital is not an open book--it is a self-enclosed and completed
theory of its object."

With all due respect, this seems to me like sophistry. I could say e.g. "a
dog is a dog, and at the same time not a dog", but this surely isn't very
profound or dialectical. Beyond some remarks scattered through various
manuscripts, Marx regrettably simply did not offer a systematic theory of
foreign trade.

Rosa Luxemburg in fact attempted to derive such a theory of the necessity of
foreign trade from the "expanded reproduction of capital" as you say, but
personally I'm a bit skeptical about that approach.

Trade in the world market, as Marx noted, is historically bound up with the
very origins of the capitalist mode of production, i.e. not just a result of
it, but a presupposition or initial condition of it. All we are saying here
so far, is that for capital to grow, markets must expand, and this expansion
occurs both nationally and internationally.

I think as regards foreign trade, that what Marx would have done in his
critique is to start off not with expanded reproduction, but with a critique
of Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage. This is in fact the path taken
by authors like Anwar Shaikh, Samir Amin, Michael Husson, Klaus Bush,
Guglielmo Carchedi and others. But that path takes us beyond what Marx
himself said.


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