Re: [OPE-L] the forest and trees and classes of capitalism

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Tue Mar 27 2007 - 08:19:00 EDT

It has been suggested that it is easier to study the 'body, the organic
whole' rather than the cells of that body.  Shouldn't the study of the
cell-form come _before_ the study of the body as a whole?  How can a
theory, which has been described as beginning with macrcoeconomic
aggregates, begin with an analysis of the cell-form?

In solidarity, Jerry

Economic Manuscripts: Capital Vol. I - 1867 Preface
Preface to the First German Edition
Every beginning is difficult, holds in all sciences. To understand the
first chapter, especially the section that contains the analysis of
commodities, will, therefore, present the greatest difficulty. That which
concerns more especially the analysis of the substance of value and the
magnitude of value, I have, as much as it was possible, popularised. [1]
The value-form, whose fully developed shape is the money-form, is very
elementary and simple. Nevertheless, the human mind has for more than
2,000 years sought in vain to get to the bottom of it all, whilst on the
other hand, to the successful analysis of much more composite and complex
forms, there has been at least an approximation. Why? Because the body, as
an organic whole, is more easy of study than are the cells of that body.
In the analysis of economic forms, moreover, neither microscopes nor
chemical reagents are of use. The force of abstraction must replace both.
But in bourgeois society, the commodity-form of the product of labour - or
value-form of the commodity - is the economic cell-form. To the
superficial observer, the analysis of these forms seems to turn upon
minutiae. It does in fact deal with minutiae, but they are of the same
order as those dealt with in microscopic anatomy.

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