[OPE-L:4934] The end of *Capital* and Book II revisited

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 6 May 1997 07:03:05 -0700 (PDT)

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Mike L wrote in [OPE-L:4922]:

> These same passages, though, could be used as a basis for arguing that
> Marx felt he *had* already dealt adequately with the 3 great classes at the
> level of "simple unity". I.e., I don't think we can conclude that in Vol 3,
> ch. 52, he was saying unequivocally that the next subjects are....

Well, of course, given the fragmentary nature of Ch. 52, we can't say
_conclusively_ what he intended. *Yet*, he did very explicitly state that:
(emphasis added, JL). This seems to me to be a pretty good indication of
what he thought should be discussed "next" -- and this reading is
reinforced by the fact that he chose to end _Capital_ by noting diversity
in the landowning class -- a topic which I believe clearly belongs to Book

> Further,
> hadn't he explicitly concluded that much of the Book II material could be
> incorporated in Capital?

To begin with, what are your references for the above? (Let's take a look
at them and discuss them).

Whether Marx concluded that "much of Book II material could be included in
Capital" depends on what you believe was the subject matter, more
concretely, of Book II.

Here again, we don't *know* what Marx would have included in Book II
and the bibliographic evidence that he planned to write Book II (and Books
3-6) is, at best, inconclusive.

So ... I think that it is more fruitful to have a discussion not about
what Marx *would have* included in Book II (or Books 3-6), but rather what
*we* believe *should be* included in those "books." This would have the
advantage, from my perspective, of moving discussion on this thread away
from what Marx did or did not intend to write (which is ultimately a
speculative discussion) to what we believe are topics related to
understanding capitalism (in this case, landed property) that have not
been addressed satisfactorily. For my perspective on possible "Book II
subjects" see [4384] and, to a less degree, [4380] and [4383].

> On the other hand (and here I go against my earlier suggestion---which I
> believe Chai-on also posited), it is possible to take the same approach
> with competition--- ie., explore it partially (and one-sidedly) in each book
> initially. By this logic, competition of capitals would be part of Book I
> (Capital). The case for this approach is that it would concentrate the
> critique of the political economy of capital.

A contrary position would be that "competition" belongs after a discussion
of "capital-in-general" but *after* a discussion of unity and diversity in
the other two major classes. That would mean that Books II and III and
possibly the beginning of Book IV would all deal with similar questions
but from the perspective of each of the separate social classes.

Let's talk about this some more.

In solidarity, Jerry