[OPE-L:4938] RE: The end of *Capital* and Book II revisited

Michael_A._Lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Tue, 6 May 1997 12:06:10 -0700 (PDT)

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

> 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
> II.

My inclination is to agree but still to note that the passage could support
someone who wished to argue that it showed Marx believed he had dealt with
the 3 great classes at that first level.

>> 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).

Initially, Marx did not intend to discuss rent until dealing with Landed
Property. Then, in the course of the 1861-3 mss, he recognised that his
general theory of rent was an illustration of his theory of value and
cost-price. While his first inclination (having worked out his theory) was
not to allude to this in his work on Capital (M-E, 18 June 1862), he then
decided (M-E, 2 August 1862) to throw in an extra chapter on the theory of
rent as an "illustration". When it came to working on the Vol 3 notes,
however, he incorporated material that he originally believed did not belong
there (eg., different degrees of productivity on different amounts of
capital applied to the same land). (cf MECW,vol 31, p.487; vol 41, pp. 380,
394). On the other hand, Marx is clear that there is much more to the
subject of landed property (as his opening sentences in Vol. 3, ch. 37

> 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.

Yes, but the first question is important to identify (a) because there are
some who will not countenance any such discussion unless there is evidence
that Marx had plans (and thus far generally not even then) and (b) because it
can provide some hints on how to approach this on a logical and systematic

in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C. Canada V5A 1S6
Office (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
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