[OPE-L:591] categories in historical time

Michael Perelman (michael@ecst.csuchico.edu)
Wed, 29 Nov 1995 08:37:24 -0800

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The recent debate about abstract labor reinforces my belief that Marx had
no choice but to revert to a historical development of his categories to
break the gordian knot that we see repeated here.

In the discussion, I keep seeing references to the idea that when Marx
discussed X, he had presumably already posited Y,X.... Yes, I agree, but
then how do you explain that totality to the uninitiated reader in Vol. 1,
Chapter 1?

By setting the discussion in a historical perspective and building up
from there, Marx can simplfy his explanation -- by trimming down the
totality. For this reason, I suggested the importance of taking some
of the historical approach to value seriously. Am I the only one to see
[imagine?] this point?

Maybe I am beating on a dead horse, but it seems to me that we have to look
at Capital on 2 dimensions: How does a discussion fit in with Marx's vision
of a totality of relations and How does he have to explain this to the
uninitiated reader.

Once we get closer to the center of the book [wherever that is], the reader
presumably understands a bit of the totality and the historical explanation
becomes unnecessary.
Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 916-898-5321
E-Mail michael@ecst.csuchico.edu