[OPE-L] Samezo Kuruma An Inquiry into Marx's Theory of Crisis

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 09 2007 - 00:04:15 EDT

In the section below I think Kuruma badly misunderstands Grossman's
argument (as do Fred, Michael Heinrich, Ernest Mandel, Michael
Lebowitz and many others).

Marx did succeed not in finishing the book on capital in general only
but showing the place of forms and functions in the totality of the
capitalist mode of production as a self-reproducing system, aimed at
the expansion of value. Marx succeeded in finding the places and
functions of and integrating the study of wage labor and landed
property as elements of a self reproducing totality. Which is to say
out of the constraints of such a tightly controlled study there are
indeed many other significant things to say about wage labor and
landed property. But to understand how wage labor and landed property
are integrated in the three volumes of Marx's Capital we won't make
headway unless we understand that Marx was not working in terms of a
six book plan.

  The source of inspiration here for the idea of totality was not
Hegel but Quesnay.   In other words, what Marx completed was not part
of the original six book plan but based on a different plan
altogether which resulted from the *slow* assimilation of the
methodological significance of the Physiocratic model of
reproduction. It's not that Marx did not know of the Physiocrats when
he wrote the six book plan.


But this problem cannot be dealt with merely by indicating the
carelessness of Grossmann. We need to advance further by providing a
solution to the problem itself. That is to say, we need to consider
whether the discussions of wage labor and ground rent in
Capitalrepresent the special discussion of "wage labor" and "landed
The key to solving this problem should of course be sought within
Capitalitself. If we look at the crucial sections of the first and
third volumes of Capitalregarding this, we can in fact come across
the following passages. First, in part six ("Wages") in volume one,
Marx writes:
Wages themselves again take many forms, a fact not recognizable in
the ordinary economic treatises which, exclusively interested in the
material side of the question, neglect every difference of form. An
exposition of all these forms however, belongs to the special study
of wage labor, not therefore to this work. Still the two fundamental
forms must be briefly worked out here.
According to this, the explanation of the various forms of wages
clearly lies outside the framework of Capital, belonging instead "to
a special study of wage labor" (in die spezielle Lehre von der
Lohnarbeit). (Regarding wages, we can also see pages...in the third
volume of Capital.
In the presentation of ground rent in volume three, we find the following:
The analysis of landed property in its various historical forms is
beyond the scope of this work. We shall he concerned with it only in
so far as a portion of the surplus-value produced by capital falls to
the share of the landowner?cFor our purposes it is necessary to study
the modern form of landed property, because our task is to consider
the specific conditions of production and circulation which arise
from the investment of capital in agriculture. Without this, our
analysis of capital would not be complete. (Capital, vol. 3, ch. 37)
One of the big contributions of Adam Smith was to have shown that
ground-rent for capital invested in the production of such
agricultural products as flax and dye-stuffs, and in independent
cattle-raising, etc., is determined by the ground-rent obtained from
capital invested in the production of the principal article of
subsistence. In fact, no further progress has been made in this
regard since then. Any limitations or additions would belong in an
independent study of landed property, not here. (Capital, vol. 3, ch.
The interest on capital incorporated in the land and the improvements
thus made in it as an instrument of production can constitute a part
of the rent paid by the capitalist farmer to the landowner, but it
does not constitute the actual ground-rent, which is paid for the use
of the land as such-be it in a natural or cultivated state. In a
systematic treatment of landed property, which is not within our
scope, this part of the landowner's revenue would have to be
discussed at length. (Capital, vol. 3, ch. 37)
We can find other similar passages, but from the passages cited above
alone, we can see that various problems concerning "landed property"
were not "within our scope" in Capital, and that separate from the
study of ground rent in Capital there is an "independent theory of
landed property" and that the "systematic treatment of landed
property that is outside the realm of the plan" in Capital is
preserved within a plan for the future.

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