[OPE-L:60] RE: Paradox of V1, Ch 25 [digression]

Michael A. Lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Sat, 16 Sep 1995 15:56:40 -0700

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In message Sat, 16 Sep 1995 12:43:36 -0700, glevy@acnet.pratt.edu writes:

> Michael Perelman wrote:
>> Concerning volume 3:
>> We would have to decide if it comes before or after chapter 1 since
>> most of the work in volume 3 comes before he published volume 1. Sort
>> of makes it confusing.
> Yes, it does get confusing ...
> Since VI was completed after the drafts of V2 & V3, when stating the
> "general law of capitalist accumulation" in Ch 25, why didn't Marx state
> that "law" more conditionally? That is, why didn't he use expressions
> like "first approximation" or "formal, abstract possibility" (like he had
> previously done in the drafts of what became V2) or said something like
> "we are going to reconsider this process when we discuss ... in the
> context of capitalist production as a whole"?
> Marx's style of presentation is even odder when you consider that he was
> trying to "coquette" Hegel since Hegel tended to explain (usually
> at the end of a chapter) how one topic relates to the next subject and/or
> future subjects.
> Does anybody have a good explanation for this paradox? The only answer
> that I can suggest is that the paradox itself speaks to the incomplete
> nature of Marx's analysis of capitalism. Anyone want to take a bite?

Well, he does say in the Intro to Part 7 that he is assuming the normal
completion of the circuit of capital and abstracting from the subdivision of
surplus value and indeed disregarding "all phenomena that conceal the
workings of its [the process of accumulation] inner mechanism."
Something which concerns me, on the other hand, in relation to
ch 25 is the reversal of direction--- ie., where wages are the dependent
variable,etc. Pretty straightforward, it would seem. However, most of Vol I
moves in the other direction: necessary labour--> value of labour-power--->
surplus-value----> accumulation, rate of accumulation; ie, the rate of
accumulation is the dependent variable. The answer I offer is that we are
now in the sphere of competition/markets and "in competition, everything is
reversed" (which is to say that the chapter really presumes Vol III, Ch.10,
which Marx had already written), but I haven't thought enough about the
implications of these "faulty architectonics". Hmm, it's pretty hard to stay
away from these questions of content! 8-)

In OPE-L solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
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e-mail: mlebowit@sfu.ca