[OPE-L:3233] Marx's archiotronics and method

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Wed, 2 Oct 1996 14:40:45 -0700 (PDT)

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Andrew K wrote in [OPE-L:3224]:

> We could continue arguing about "levels of abstraction," but I propose
> we talk instead about the original issue: single and multiple
> capitals. My question to Jerry is, how do you propose that my
> judgments and yours be TESTED?

There is no "litmus test" that we can subject different interpretations of
_Capital_ to. However, we *can* offer evidence in support of our
interpretations, including what Marx wrote in _Capital_ and elsewhere
regarding his method.

Regarding the difference between the three volumes, why can't we take the
first paragraph of V3, Ch 1 as a starting point for discussion (even
though the drafts for what became V3 were written before V1)?

"In Volume 1 we investigated the phenomena exhibited by the *process of
capitalist production*, taken by itself, i.e. the immediate production
process, in which connection all secondary influences external to this
process were left out of account. But this immediate production process
does not exhaust the life cycle of capital. In the world as it actually is,
it is supplemented by the *process of circulation*, and this formed our
object of investigation in the second volume. Here we showed, particularly
in Part Three, where we considered the circulation process as it mediates
the process of social reproduction, that the capitalist production
process, taken as a whole, is a unity of the production and circulation
processes. It cannot be the purpose of the present, third volume simply to
make general reflections on this unity. Our concern is rather to discover
and present the concrete forms which grow out of the *process of capital's
movement considered as a whole*. In their actual movement, capitals
confront one another in certain concrete forms, and, in relation to these,
both the shape capital assumes in the immediate production process and its
shape in the process of circulation appear merely as particular moments.
The configurations of capital, as developed in this volume, thus approach
step by step the form in which they appear on the surface of society, in
the action of different capitals on one another, i.e. in competition, and
the everyday consciousness of the agents of production themselves" (Penguin
ed., p. 117).

If we can not come to an agreement regarding this passage, we can examine
some of Marx's other writings (e.g. the "Introduction" to the
_Grundrisse_, the prefaces and postfaces of V1, and the succession of the
different plans for _Capital_ and their meaning -- including the

In solidarity,