[OPE-L:122] Unresolved Questions in CAPITAL

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Sat, 23 Sep 1995 17:42:03 -0700

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John wrote:

> Given Jerry's question presents us with a choice between two alternatives,
> I'm not sure an answer is possible.

My question was ... a question. The intent was to stimulate discussion.
It would seem I have succeeded.

That is, if we say a six book is
> necessary, are we implicitly assuming the book of CAPITAL is finished?

No. That is another issue. One can say that the 6 book plan is "consistent
with the task of understanding capitalism" and one can still say that
_Capital_ is not finished.

> we say that a few more chapters need to be added to CAPITAL, are we again
> assuming that that book is complete?

If all we were saying was that a few more chapters need to be written,
then you would be correct.
Given the problems and 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
> "value" -- 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
> this 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?
> 4. Other than state that the periodic nature of crisis was to be related to
> the 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?

Yes, these are all legitimate questions that should be asked. I assumed
that no one would assume that I was suggesting that we simply start
where _Capital_ left off. Evidently, I was wrong.

In OPE-L solidarity,

> >The original plan ....[snip]
What we do know is that _Capital: A Critique of Political Economy_
> >was planned to have 4 volumes .... [snip]
> >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.
3 [the Process as a Whole] and simply add on new chapters that move
one from the more general to the most concrete levels of abstraction.
What is gained and what is lost in each procedure?