[OPE-L:1474] Gil and Mike's Surprising Agreement

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Wed, 13 Mar 1996 05:41:34 -0800

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Replying to Mike L's [1469]:

> So, I would like now to find out specifically how other people on this
> list feel about that agreement. Does everyone agree that Marx did *not*
> establish a case proceeding logically from (A) the concept of capital
> (M-C-M') to (B) the buying of labour-power--- in the sense that one *must*
> proceed from A to B rather than one *may*?
> (I think this captures what we agree upon--- although we may differ over
> where exactly the logical leap occurred and how important the lapse is. To
> jog your collective memory, I'll remind you that I argued that if this was
> true we could not say that capitalist relations of production are implicit
> in the commodity--- because they require historically specific conditions
> which are not implicit in the commodity.)

I think this question relates to a discussion we had some time back
concerning the starting point, and the subject of investigation, of
_Capital_. If one believes that the subject of investigation is
capitalism (as Marx suggests in the first sentence of V1), rather than
commodity production in general, then one can say not only that the
transition from "A" to "B" "might" happen, but that it *has*
happened. Marx's purpose, in Ch. 5 & 6 was not, by my reading, an
attempt to analyze the "historically specific conditions" related to
commodity production in general.

So, even if the above agreement by Mike and Gil was granted, it would
*simply* suggest that other topics such as a further explanation of
non-capitalist commodity production need further investigation from a
historical perspective (which Marx *does* get into near the end of V1,
but is *not central* to his stated task of describing, ultimately, the
"economic law of motion" of capitalism).

In OPE-L Solidarity,