in the "Preface" to the first edition of *Capital* Marx makes a methodological remark:
"Every beginning is difficult, holds in all sciences. To understand thefirst chapter, especially the section that contains the analysis of commodities,will, therefore, present the greatest difficulty. That which concerns moreespecially the analysis of the substance of value and the magnitude ofvalue, I have, as much as it was possible, popularised. The value-form, whose fully developed shape is the money-form, is veryelementary and simple. Nevertheless, the human mind has for more than 2,000years sought in vain to get to the bottom of it all, whilst on the otherhand, to the successful analysis of much more composite and complex forms,there has been at least an approximation. Why? Because the body, as anorganic whole, is more easy of study than are the cells of that body. Inthe analysis of economic forms, moreover, neither microscopes nor chemicalreagents are of use. The force of abstraction must replace both. But inbourgeois society, the commodity-form of the product of labour — or value-formof the commodity — is the economic cell-form. To the superficial observer,the analysis of these forms seems to turn upon minutiae. It does in factdeal with minutiae, but they are of the same order as those dealt within microscopic anatomy."
And in Grundrisse (the chapter "The Method of Political Economy") he says:
"Bourgeois society is the most developed and the most complex historicorganization of production. The categories which express its relations,the comprehension of its structure, thereby also allows insights intothe structure and the relations of production of all the vanishedsocial formations out of whose ruins and elements it built itself up,whose partly still unconquered remnants are carried along within it,whose mere nuances have developed explicit significance within it, etc.Human anatomy contains a key to the anatomy of the ape. The intimationsof higher development among the subordinate animal species, however,can be understood only after the higher development is already known.The bourgeois economy thus supplies the key to the ancient, etc."
My question is whether anybody on the list can suggest any literature on these methodological remarks of Marx's.
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Received on Sun Nov 29 14:26:11 2009
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