[OPE-L:138] more than 6 books? If so, then WHAT? Either way, HOW?

ECUSER (ECBURKE@scifac.indstate.edu)
Mon, 25 Sep 1995 17:55:31 -0700

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Jerry recently asked whether the 6 book plan is sufficient, and
if not, then what books would we like to add. I would suggest that
one book that might be added would be capitalist production and
accumulation on a world scale in its economic and political
dimensions (the result of the first 6 books) and the ecology. In
other words, capitalism's natural conditions and limits (it being
presumed that all natural conditions and limits are historically
specific to particular systems of production in Marx's materialist
and social conception of history).

Subsequently, Jerry asked the different, but closely related
question as to whether the 6-book plan is NEEDED to understand
capitalism, or would a further concretization of the categories
developed in Volume III of CAPITAL be sufficient for 'understanding'?
Obviously the answer might depend on what is meant by understanding
here, e.g., the kind of understanding required to formulate strategic-
political positions at particular conjunctures so as to hasten the
transition to a saner system? If this is the kind of understanding
we seek I don't see how it would be possible to avoid issues like
international trade and the state. However, if we go with the 6-(or
more)-book approach, Paul C. raises the methodological problem: how
do we start the rest of the books subsequent to the first one (i.e.,
CAPITAL)? Is there some parallel between the start of CAPITAL with
the commodity and how we should start the other 6 books? Here,
Michael P. argues that according to Marx we should not start with
history (i.e., with historical origins), but rather more logically,
in terms of the simplest categories defining the system of production
(is that right Michael?). The commodity fits the bill for CAPITAL,
but what about for, e.g., landed property? Here, I would think that
the simplest category defining use of and property in land under
capitalism would be the exchange value of natural forces and objects,
i.e. rent. But Marx already covered rent in CAPITAL, or so it seems.
Perhaps the starting point for the book on landed property would be
the category of rent as dealt with in CAPITAL III. But then what it
left to do with the book on landed property? Perhaps the development
of the spatial organization of capital, e.g., the close connection
between the commodification of material production and the
development of the division or 'antithesis' between town and country
under capitalism? Something like this procedure (done by someone
more articulate, not to speak of more gifted, than I) must be required

Sorry to temporarily displace the interesting debate on interest
etc., but I didn't want this thread to get away. Any thoughts on
this or different tracks leading from Jerry's 6-book ruminations?


Paul B.