[OPE-L:4384] Re: the end of *Capital* and Book II

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 14 Mar 1997 09:00:57 -0800 (PST)

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Some further thoughts re Alejandro's 2nd question in [OPE-L:4382]:

(1) I think that we would have to agree that Marx's question:

"'What makes a class?'" (Penguin ed, Vol. 3, p. 1025)

has been one of the most heatedly discussed and debated questions in
the history of Marxism. This has been particularly the case when there
have been discussions about intra-class fragmentations. Furthermore,
there have been many debates among Marxists related to the "agrarian
question" (see references listed below). Some of the key questions
regarding the debates on the "agrarian question" concerned such issues as
peasant differentiation, the agricultural proletariat, and the
relationship between the working class and the peasantry. That last
subject might serve as the basis for a logical transition between Books II
and III.

(2) Some other possible topics that might fall within the subject matter
of Book II include:

(a) landowners and nature.
For instance, Marx ends VIII by writing:

[...] land-owners -- the latter for instance
into vineyard owners, field-owners, forest-owners, mine-owners,
fishery-owners, etc." (Ibid, p. 1026).

Well ... I think it is worthwhile considering the environmental
consequences for other landowners and other social classes in
"modern society" in the capitalist mode of production of "vineyard
owners, field-owners, forest-owners, mine-owners, fishery-owners,
etc.". In the current period where we see the destruction of
forests, strip-mining, over-fishing, etc., this would seem to be a
rather significant subject worthy of further systematic

(b) landowners and the creation of needs

How, for instance, do landowners use advertising, marketing, and
product differentiation to help create or increase the demand for
their products?

(c) competition and cooperation among landowners

For example, cartels and co-operatives.

(d) agrobusiness

this would surely be a subject that Marx would have been keen on
discussing since it suggests that the trends of concentration and
centralization and the methods of "modern industry" have extended
to agriculture.

(e) the large landed estates

A topic which surely has contemporary relevance in many capitalist
economies (e.g. in Latin America).

(f) the family and landowners

e.g. the role of children and extended families in the social
division of labor in agriculture. The role of women within
different "fragments" of this class.

(g) the petty-commodity-producing sector

The "informal sector" is surely another subject of contemporary
relevance that can be related, in part, to the fragmentation and
dissolution of segments of the landowning class.

I'm sure there are many other subjects that would be worthy of
consideration in terms of incorporating into Book II. Who has other ideas?

In solidarity, Jerry


Kautsky, Karl _The Agrarian Question_, 2 volumes, London, Zwan
Publications, 1988 (originally published in 1899 in German as _Die

Athar Hussain and Keith Tribe _Marxism and the Agrarian Question_, 2
volumes, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, Humanities Press, 1981 (Vol 1:
"German Social Democracy and the Peasantry 1890-1907"; Vol 2: "Russian
Marxism and the Peasantry 1861-1930")

Athar Hussain and Keith Tribe ed. _Paths of Development in Capitalist
Agriculture_, London, The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1984 (articles by E.
David, Kautsky, O. Geck, P. Ernst, M. Sering, G. von Vollmar, and F.