[OPE-L] Reply to Rakesh

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sun Oct 08 2006 - 10:15:00 EDT

I think Marx completed, at least in manuscript form, the analysis of capital
in general which he projected, because - as I quoted - he considered that it
was most important to get clear about the social meaning of capital, that
was the priority, and from that all else followed. His book is indeed called
"Das Kapital".

The theory of foreign trade would presumably discuss the principles of that
trade, which followed from the analysis of the capitalist mode of production
and the theory of value. Initially, from the 16th century up to the 19th
century - foreign trade had fueled original accumulation, but the
development of capitalist production created new principles of foreign
trade. Presumably Marx would have wanted to criticize the theories of
foreign trade and colonialism by the political economists, in terms of how
that trade actually occurred and who benefited from it, distinguishing
between trade in money and capital and trade in commodities.

For a useful study of the theories of the political economists, see e.g.
Donald Winch, Classical political economy and colonies (1965) and by the
same author, Riches and poverty : an intellectual history of political
economy in Britain, 1750-1834 (1996).

The theory of the world market would presumably empirically analyse the
world economy in its real totality, i.e. the relations between nations who
are increasingly integrated into a world market, and what the dynamics
behind their trade were. (In 1900 Franz Mehring partly attempted to sketch
such an analysis, in an article in Vorwärts, titled "Weltkrach und
Weltmarkt. Eine weltpolitische Skizze"["World crash and world market. A
worldpolitical sketch"). There were also various debates in the journal Die
Neue Zeit.

However, when Marx lived, the available data he could use for this were
sparse. Many West European as well as US official institutions provided some
estimates of exports and imports of goods, national income estimates as well
as data on currency exchange, but there were no integrated accounts of
national and international capital and currency flows. Consequently the
world market project was in a sense beyond Marx at that time, even if he had
had the time for it - he got as far as journalistic analyses (about 24
articles or so) and letters on the topic.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a spate of Marxian analyses of the world
market by Prokla authors like Busch, Neususs, Kohlmey, Schoeller, Seelow,
Tiegel, Altvater and so on, but their work was never translated into


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