[OPE-L:4291] Books 4-6 Revisited

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 6 Mar 1997 20:06:31 -0800 (PST)

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Of course, we don't know what Marx planned for the contents of Books 4-6
(or Books 2-3, for that matter), ... but ... there are some interesting
clues in the _Grundrisse_.


(I). In what Alan Oakley calls the "First _Grundrisse_ plan", consider
sections 3-5:

3. Concentration of bourgeois society in the form of the
state. Viewed in relation to itself.

The "unproductive" classes.


State debt.

Public credit.

The population.

The colonies.


4. The international relation of production.

International division of labour.

International exchange.

Export and import.

Rate of exchange.

5. The world market and crises.

(Penguin ed, p. 108, re-organized above and following for visual clarity).

Comments and questions:

(a) Marx obviously gives us no clue above regarding the content of "The
world market and crises", but I think it is worth pondering the
meaning of why it was viewed as the "finishing point." I.e. we know
that Marx gave careful consideration to the starting point of his
investigation, but it seems to me that the "end point" also has
great significance (at least within a Hegelian-Marxist reading).
What is the rationale for ending with that subject?

(b) Again, we don't know Marx's reasoning behind the ordering of the
sub-divisions under 3. and 4.. What do you think such a rationale
would (or should) be? Do you agree with the ordering of the

(c) To what extent, if any, are the above subjects incorporated into
_Capital_? Are they referred to paranthetically or are they
systematically incorporated into the logical design of what we now
know as _Capital_?

(d) Can anyone advance a sound *analytical* reason for not
incorporating the substance of 3-5 in _Capital_?

(e) Marx asserts re the division 1-5 on p. 108 that "The order
obviously has to be ...." What is the logical basis for believing
that these orderings are "obviously" the right ones?


(II). Later, in what Oakley calls the "Second Grundrisse_ plan" (p. 227),
we see:

(3) "the concentration of the whole of the state"

(4) "international relation"

(5) "the world market the conclusion"

"in which production is posited as a totality together with all its
movements, but within which all contradictions come into play. The
world market then, again, forms the presupposition of the whole as
well as its substratum. Crises are then the general intimation which
points beyond the presupposition, and the urge which drives towards
the new historic form."

Comments and questions:

(a) In the above, we see a fascinating look at why Marx wanted to
conclude with the world market and crisis. Two reasons seem to be

i) a logical reason that sounds *very* Hegelian.

ii) relatedly, a political reason having to do with the
*revolutionary* import of Marx's critique.

What do you think of the soundness of each of these reasons?

(b) What I read the above to suggest, in part, is that the subject
of the world market and crises should be the logical terminal
point of the investigation because it points the way towards "a
new historical form", i.e. communism. Do others agree with that

(c) There is the clear suggestion that the investigation of the
world market is "leading to crises." I.e. that the subject of the
world market needs to be ordered before crises and that an
understanding of crises unfolds from the further development of
the subject of the world market. Why might that be the case? In
what ways would crises when analyzed from this standpoint be
different from the analysis of crises within the context of
capital in general?

(d) It would seem to me that a understanding of working-class
subjectivity would form a logical prerequisite for the analysis
of crises at the level of abstraction where "production is
posited in its totality with all its movements bringing all
contradictions into effect." Would this issue be _introduced_ in
the book/pamphlet on the world market or would it be introduced
at a previous level of abstraction, e.g. the book on Wage-Labour
that Marx refers to in the next (and many other) plans? Or, was
it incorporated into _Capital_ as Rosdolsky and many others


(III). In the next ("third") _Grundrisse_ plan (p. 264) we see:

I. Capital

II. Landed Property ("After capital, landed property would be dealt

III. Wage-Labour ("After that [landed property, JL] wage-labour"

["All three [I-III, JL] presupposed, the *movement of prices*, as
circulation now defined in its inner totality. On the other side, as
production posited in its three basic forms and presuppositions of

IV. The State ["then the State"]

State and bourgeois society.

Taxes, or the existence of the unproductive classes.

The state debt.


V. The state externally


external trade.

rate of exchange.

money as international coin.

VI. The World Market ["Finally the world market"]

encroachment of bourgeois society over the state.


dissolution of the mode of production and form of society based on
exchange value.

real positing of individual labour as social and vice versa.

Comments and questions:

(a) Here we see the 6-book-plan. Although there is no definitive
bibliographical proof that Marx either retained or abandoned this
plan, what are the *logical* reasons for believing that Books 2-3
and Books 4-6 were (i) incorporated into _Capital_? If so, where?;
and (ii) these subjects were essential parts of Marx's critique?

(b) How do you interpret the meaning of the quote [that I placed in
brackets] following Wage-Labour, i.e. "All three presupposed, the
*movement of prices*, ...."?

(c) How would you evaluate the logic of the ordering _within_ books
4-6 suggested above? How does it differ from the other orderings in
the sections already presented?

(d) Why is "the population" placed in Book 4?

(e) What is the meaning of the "encroachment of civil society over the
state" within the context of Book 6?

(f) Again, we see the revolutionary import of Marx's critique in the
conclusion. Does one observe this "end point" at the close of
_Capital_? If so, where?

(g) How would the "real positing of individual labour as social labour
and vice versa" have meaning for Marx's understanding of communism?


(IV). Another plan in the _Grundrisse_ appears on p. 275. Here the main
divisions (of Book I?) appear as:

I. Generality

II. Particularity

III. Singularity

Comments and questions:

(a) To what extent does the generality-particularity-singularity
dialectic unfold within the archiotronic structure of

(b) To what extent does this dialectical structure appear within the
sub-divisions of the preeceding plans for Books 4-6?

(c) Can this dialectical structure be used to interpret the divisions
of "Economics" as 6 books?

(d) What questions did I forget to ask?

(e) When will I stop asking these questions?

(f) Should I stop asking these questions?

It's my belief that we should ask and discuss these questions
again for a few reasons. Firstly, a large percentage of listmembers
weren't on the list for our "plans" discussion. Secondly, that discussion
was very brief and a lot of topics weren't covered or were only discussed
very briefly. Thirdly, we haven't yet discussed the _Grundrisse_ plans.
Fourthly, we have now had the experience of discussing many other subjects
for some time and our perspectives on the "plans" questions may have
changed and become enriched.

In solidarity, Jerry


Allen Oakley _The Making of Marx's Critical Theory: A Bibliographical
Analysis_, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983