Re: [OPE-L] Ch. 7 as starting point for reading Capital???

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (riccardo.bellofiore@UNIBG.IT)
Date: Wed Jun 20 2007 - 12:07:33 EDT

I completely agree. Yes, I am from Sicily.



At 7:57 -0700 20-06-2007, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:
>Hi Riccardo,
>I can't remember to whom and when Marx  wrote 
>his advice about the chapter order "ladies" 
>should read Capital I. Perhaps he suggested 
>beginning with the chapter on the working day?
>Interested in your reading of chapter 7. After 
>all, here (living) labor is described  as the 
>living ferment combined with lifeless means of 
>production. In the Grundrisse (living) labor is 
>described as the form giving fire. And though I 
>don't think it's been pointed out before Marx's 
>language in the Grundrisse seems derived from 
>Empedocles, that rich doctor from present day 
>Sicily, your birthplace, no?
>Empedocles after all singled out fire of the 
>four elements because it seemed more of an 
>action and it can be used to change the three 
>states of matter of or combinations of them into 
>the things we see, or to change one state into 
>another--ice to water, water to steam. Without 
>fire, he reasoned, the world of things must rely 
>on accidental collisions and linkages to change.
>For Marx labor is the form giving fire.
>>Hi Rakesh, I see this only now, somehow it went 
>>"back" in the list of the messages. Thanks for 
>>both suggestions, and especially for the 
>>Korsch's paper. He has been one of my first 
>>"love" in Marxian theory, especially the Korsch 
>>of the book "Karl Marx".
>>At 20:47 -0700 19-06-2007, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:
>>>>A request for help.
>>>>I think someone on this list (Rakesh, perhaps?) made a comment once about
>>>>Althusser advising people to start reading 
>>>>Capital from ch.7. Is this right?
>>>>Does anyone have a reference, or even a quote?
>>>>Many thanks if you can help me on this.
>>>If I said that I was mistaken. Althusser 
>>>recommends beginning with Part II, chapter 4. 
>>>Korsch  said to begin with Chapter 7, though 
>>>it would not serve as a good description of a 
>>>wafer production facility or an automated 
>>>assembly line!
>>>>That is why I want to recommend to the 
>>>>beginner an approach that diverges somewhat 
>>>>from Marx's advice on a suitable start for 
>>>>the ladies (wherein we may sense a certain 
>>>>deference to the prejudices of his own 
>>>>time!). I hope that the approach I recommend 
>>>>will enable the reader to attain a full 
>>>>understanding of Capital just as readily, or 
>>>>even more readily than if he were to begin 
>>>>with the difficult opening chapters.
>>>>It is best, I think, to begin with a thorough 
>>>>perusal of Chapter 7 on 'The Labour Process 
>>>>and the Process of Producing Surplus-value'. 
>>>>There are, it is true, a number of 
>>>>preliminary difficulties to be overcome, but 
>>>>these are all internal to the matter in hand, 
>>>>and not due, as are many difficulties in the 
>>>>preceding chapters, to a really rather 
>>>>unnecessary artificiality in the 
>>>>presentation. What is said here refers 
>>>>directly and immediately to palpable 
>>>>realities, and in the first instance to the 
>>>>palpable reality of the human work process. 
>>>>We encounter straightaway a clear and stark 
>>>>presentation of an insight essential for the 
>>>>proper understanding of Capital - the insight 
>>>>that this real-life work process represents, 
>>>>under the present regime of the capitalist 
>>>>mode of production, not only the production 
>>>>of use-values for human eventually through 
>>>>the difficult parts as well as the simpler 
>>>>passages of the book should save this part up 
>>>>until he really does come to the end of Part 
>>>>7, for Part 8 was intended by Marx as a final 
>>>>crowning touch to his work.
>>>Now that all this is all on line I can see 
>>>that I spent way too much of my limited 
>>>resources buying copies of all these books!
>>>In the course of our discussions Fred Moseley 
>>>said I think that chapter 7 is the most 
>>>important chapter. Obviously an intriguing 
>>>position but he did not elaborate.
>>>Yours, Rakesh
>>Riccardo Bellofiore
>>Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
>>"Hyman P. Minsky"
>>UniversitÓ di Bergamo
>>Via dei Caniana 2
>>I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
>>direct          +39-035-2052545
>>secretary    +39-035 2052501
>>fax:    +39 035 2052549

Riccardo Bellofiore
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
"Hyman P. Minsky"
UniversitÓ di Bergamo
Via dei Caniana 2
I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
direct    +39-035-2052545
secretary    +39-035 2052501
fax:      +39 035 2052549

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