[OPE-L:569] Re: Order of enquiry and critique

Fred Moseley (fmoseley@laneta.apc.org)
Mon, 27 Nov 1995 11:37:03 -0800

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Paul Z. has suggested that a study of CAPITAL should begin with Part 2 or
Part 3 of Volume 1 because the essence of CAPITAL is the capital - wage
labor relation. He asks: why is it logically necessary to begin with Part 1?

My quick answer is:

1. Chapter 1 presents the labor theory of value (LTV), the fundamental
assumption upon which the rest of Marx's theory is based. Marx's
explanation of surplus-value in Part 3 is based on the LTV presented in Part 1.

2. Chapter 1 also derives money as the necessary form of appearance of
abstract labor. Chapter 4 then defines capital in terms of money - as money
which becomes more money (M - C -M'). The title of Part 2 is "The
Transformation of MONEY into Capital." Thus, Marx's theory of capital in
Part 2 and beyond is based on his theory of money presented in Part 1.

In sum, Part 1 is a necesssary logical preliminary to the analysis of
capital and surplus-vaue beginning in Part 2. I do not understand how one
could start with Part 2 without this necessary preliminary. Maybe one could
begin with Chapter 4 for pedagogical reasons, because Chapter 1 is so
difficult, but not for logical, substantial reasons, which I assume is the
issue here.

Fred Moseley