[OPE-L:178] Re: The Book on Landed Property

Michael A. Lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Sun, 1 Oct 1995 00:37:23 -0700

[ show plain text ]

In message Fri, 29 Sep 1995 09:14:21 -0700,
wpc@clyder.gn.apc.org (Paul Cockshott) writes:

> In capital III as Mike points out Marx explicitly restricts
> himself to the study of landed property within the capitalist
> mode of production. He makes the simplifying assumption that
> agriculture is dominated by the capitalist mode of production.
> Within a book on Capital this is a rational assumption, but
> would the same apply to a book on landed property per-se?

The argument Marx makes in the Grundrisse intoduction (Vintage, 106-7) is
that "in all forms of society there is one specific kind of production which
predominates over the rest, whose relations thus assign rank and influence
to the others" , and thus if one wants to study pre-capitalist society, you
begin with landed property just as you begin with capital to study
capitalist society. My understanding of Marx's original plan is that all 6
bsoks were about capitalist society and thus the discussion of landed
property should flow out of that of capital rather than there being an
independent beginning.
However, I think Paul is raising a very important point, which is--- was
Marx's project right? Ie., don't we have to deal with the articulation of
different social formations, modes of production, etc and, if so, at what

> We have to take into account the fact that both at the time
> Marx was writing, and today in a large part of the world
> economy, agriculture is not dominated by capitalist relations
> of production. If we were simply to assume that it was, our
> analysis would be incapable of dealing with many of the
> most significant developments of 20th century history.
> Landed property, and the landlord class that is based upon it,
> have been and remain major influences on economics and
> politics. There existence can not be deduced from the
> categories of capital, but have their own synchronic and
> diachronic supports.
> Modern society, understood as the world today, incorporates
> a number of coexisting systems of social relations deriving
> from both capitalist and pre-capitalist modes of production.
> Modern society is not reducible to capitalism.
Yes, that is true and so one wonders how and where this is to be
integrated. Perhaps that is book 7. Ie., once we have the picture of the
capitalist world market, perhaps that is the very point at which it is
ctearly established that this does not exhaust the world, that something
exists outside, that it is necessary to consider that which is outside and
then its interactions with the capitalist world economy.
in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
Home: (604) 255-0382
Lasqueti Island (current location): (604) 333-8810
e-mail: mlebowit@sfu.ca