[OPE-L:121] Unresolved Questions in CAPITAL

John R. Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Sat, 23 Sep 1995 17:26:55 -0700

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Given Jerry's questions, reproduced below present us with a choice between
two alternatives, I'm not sure an answer is possible. That is, if we say
a six book is necessary, are we implicitly assuming the book of CAPITAL is
finished? If we say that a
few more chapters need to be added to CAPITAL, are we again assuming that
book is complete? In other words, it would seem Jerry's questions force
us to
assume a great deal about the text of CAPITAL itself. Given the problems
questions that are unresolved concerning CAPITAL, it is, in my judgment,
impossible to move forward without AT LEAST listing the unresolved matters

that arise from CAPITAL. Some examples of these questions are:

1. Does the concept of value have an historic dimension?
2. How do we deal with the different ways in which Marx uses the term
-- individual, social, market, etc.?
3. In his 1987 book, Michael Perelman notes that Marx's development of the

falling rate of profit concept seems to related to the cotton crisis. Is
true? Are other concepts affected as well?
4. In his January 1863 plan, Marx planned to introduce rent prior to the

falling rate of profit? In that same plan, the outline does not indicate
that the FROP
was to called a tendency; yet, in CAPITAL, it is. Are there reasons we can
find in
Marx's own words for this change?
5. Other than state that the periodic nature of crisis was to be related to
turnover of fixed capital, to what extent did Marx work this out? If he
did not, how
does that affect the way in which we treat CAPITAL?

>On Sat, 23 Sep 1995 glevy@acnet.pratt.edu said:
The original plant, as we know, was for six books [Capital, Landed
Wage-Labour, The State, International Trade, World Market and Crises]. We
don't know, from bibliographic evidence [see Oakley,1983), if Marx ever
gave up the
6 book plan. What we do know is that _Capital: A Critique of Political
was planned to have 4 volumes [Production Process, Circulation Process,
Process as a Whole, Critical History].
My question for all to consider is the following: Is the 6 book plan more

consistent with the task of understanding capitalism or can one go to Vol.
[the Process as a Whole] and simply add on new chapters that move one from
more general to the most concrete levels of abstraction. What is gained and

what is lost in each procedure?

In OPE-L solidarity,