Re: [OPE-L] 3 crucial points?

From: Christopher Arthur (arthurcj@WAITROSE.COM)
Date: Thu Feb 01 2007 - 19:15:45 EST

Having done some work on Results recently I can report that the CW34
translation is much better than the penguin.( In particular wherever
'conceptual' comes up Penguin goes for a subjectivist reading which IMO
is wrong. ) The only exception is the title where Immediate is better
than direct (just imagine the opposites).
BTW  the translator situation is highly paradoxical. The CW34
translation is by Fowkes, the penguin one by Livingstone! (See p.4)

On 30 Jan 2007, at 06:47, Howard Engelskirchen wrote:

> Here's puzzle of translation and understanding:
> Capital's unpublished chapter, The Results of the Immediate Process of
> Production, opens with a discussion of the commodity as the product of
> capital.  Two and a half pages in Marx summarizes by making 3 points.
> In
> the Penguin translation "Drei Punkte" in italics followed by a full
> stop
> gets translated as "These three points are crucial," but never mind --
> they
> are crucial.
> But the last sentence of the third point is a puzzle.  Volume 34, p.
> 360
> shows that the manuscript contains a colon and notes (infers?) that the
> insertion (inferred?) to follow was left unfinished.  Here's the
> sentence in
> German:
> "Der Austausch von Kapital und Arbeitskraft wird formell:
> This gets translated in the Penguin edition as "The formal exchange of
> capital and labour-power becomes general."
> Volume 34 translates the sentence more literally as "The exchange
> between
> capital and labour power becomes formal: [. . . ]
> Now translation difficulties pose the problem, but in fact the question
> posed can be evaluated without recourse to the German.
> In what sense could Marx here have meant that the exchange between
> capital
> and labour power becomes formal?  How is that in any sense a summing
> up of
> what has gone before, as clearly the three points are?
> Otherwise presented, assuming the assertion of the Ben Fowkes
> translation is
> a point that is correct, what justifies interpreting "wird formell," ie
> "becomes formal," as "becomes general"?
> Also, since Marx followed the biblical injunction here insisting that
> the
> first was meant to be last (the section on the commodity as a product
> of
> capital was meant to be presented after the section on the production
> of
> surplus value and the section on the production of the total
> relationship),
> the summing up might include a more far reaching comparison or
> reference to
> the first two sections.
> But from what perspective is the exchange of capital and labor power
> formal?
> One answer that occurs to me, and that would be consistent with the
> Fowkes
> translation, is that Marx is making the point here that since both
> bondage
> (slavery or serfdom) and the independent production of commodities by
> the
> direct producer are destroyed, we get necessarily the sale and
> purchase of
> labor power, ie the formal exchange of capital and labor -- that is as
> opposed to the exchange of content or substance between capital and
> labor
> that takes place in the process of production.  Thus where the the
> worker
> has ceased to be a part of the conditions of production, labor power
> becomes
> a commodity (point 2) and where the independent production of
> commodities by
> the direct producer is destroyed (point 3), necessarily the formal
> exchange
> of capital and labor must take place.  The end of bondage is necessary
> before labor power can become a commodity and the end of independent
> commodity production for the direct producer is necessary before the
> purchase and sale of labor power -- the formal exchange of capital and
> labor -- takes place.
> Thoughts on this or other interpretations?
> Howard

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