[OPE-L:506] Re: Ric's reply to Mike L's, again

Riccardo Bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Sat, 18 Nov 1995 06:35:23 -0800

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Dear Mike,

I fear there is still a problem in communication, mainly due to my
insufficient mastery of English, and maybe to your 'hurry' 8-) in
labelling my position as opposed to yours

On Fri, 17 Nov 1995, Michael A. Lebowitz wrote:

> However, the reason you stressed the "hurry" originally was to
> dismiss the relative importance of the Grundrisse compared to "Vol IV",
> which I am contesting. You said "I think Michael L. is right,
> we must take into account the Grundrisse, but that does not change much:
> it was written in a great hurry *after* years of studying Smith and
> Ricardo, Malthus and Sismondi, Tooke and Fullarton."

You see, I read my phrase with the stress starting from *after*, i.e.: "it
was written in a great hurry *after* years of studying Smith and
Ricardo,Malthus and Sismondi, Tooke and Fullarton"

> You responded:
> > The true order, starting from the 1861-63 Manuscript, in fact was I, IV,
> > III, I, III.
> But, why "starting from the 1861-63 Manuscript"? Why aren't you
> recognising the Grundrisse as a starting point, as the place where Marx
> moved from the simplest determinations and proceeded from there to a
> conception of the whole as "a rich totality of many determinations and
> relations", --- ie., as the place where we see "the scientifically correct
> method"? Again, there appears to be a fundamental difference with respect to
> our views of the order of enquiry.

I was saying two things: (i) looking at my books I realized that the order
proposed by Alan was *wrong*; even starting from the 1861-63 Manuscript
vol. IV is not the 'first' in the writing process, as he said, because it
is preceded by the writing on topics pertaining to the first volume of
Capital, not to the Theories of Surplus Value. I thought this would have
made you happy! (ii) I fully accepted the Grundrisse as the 'starting
point' of the making of Capital, BUT the 1857-58 Manuscripts were preceded
by an in depth study of political and vulgar economy. Don't you agree that
Marx never thought possible an *immediate* 'appraisal' and 'critique' of
the capitalist mode of production?

> However, I suspect that I am inclined to see in the Grundrisse
> more of a *qualitative* break (even an epistemological break) than you.

Here - the qualitative, epistemological break of the Grundrisse, the
Grundrisse as a turning point -is where we could not agree more!
It is for *this* reason that the Grundrisse are the 'starting point',
though Marx's project of a Critique was already there since the early

> > Put in
> > another way, the Marxian method is cut off from the content of the
> > critique of the political economy? Is it possible that the object of the
> > critique changes, and that the method stays there unscathed? This is a
> > real question, I've not the answer (now) - but, again, I'm sympathetic
> > with what Duncan's says of the connection between method and content in
> > the critique of political economy in his OPE-L 422.
> >
> I accept that as an interesting question. Do you think that this would
> lead to advances which application of the Marxian method as applied to the
> real concrete (the real object of critique) would not? If so, why?

This is the real *big* question, to which I hope to answer through my
participation in OPE-L. Too big to give a short and insufficient reply now.

in solidarity,


Riccardo Bellofiore e-mail: bellofio@cisi.unito.it
Department of Economics Tel: (39) -35- 277505 (direct)
University of Bergamo (39) -35- 277501 (dept.)
Piazza Rosate, 2 (39) -11- 5819619 (home)
I-24129 Bergamo Fax: (39) -35- 249975