[OPE-L:5075] Re: question

Michael Williams (mwilliam@compuserve.com)
Mon, 19 May 1997 10:08:33 -0700 (PDT)

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In reply to my answer to 'The Question':
> >Instead of giving a theoretical reason, I am going to offer various
> >explanations why Marx adopted this position:
> >1. Everybody was at it. Not just the Scottish Political Economists, and
> >French Utopian Socialists but even the English Political Philosophers,
> >indeed Aristotle.
> >2. He thus 'saw' that it was so, and desired to given an account of how
> >could be so, even under capitalism (ie post the appropriation of private
> >property in land and the accumulation of capital.
> >3. He understood capitalism as a specific mode of the exercise of human
> >creativity in its relations with nature ('work'), and saw abstract
> >as the specifically capitalist (not to mention alienated and distorted)
> >mode of existence of work.
> >
> >It is, thus, a postulate, not a conclusion of his work - although of
> >one brilliantly justified by the totality of his systematic conceptual
> >presentation.
> >

Riccardo says:
> I agree on all the points.
> Would you agree that your point 3 is a very special postulate, in the
> that its being justified by the totality of his systematic conceptual
> presentation, and its being based on a *specific* mode of the exercise of
> human creativity in its relation with nature, work (may I add: in
> production?) have very deep consequence on the analytical shape of the
> theory.
> That is: the theory would be different if one takes the postulate as
> that what matters is human labour transhistorically as the only human
> element in production; or if one does not take into account the
> developments?

To which Michael W responds:

I though we might agree about this! Just a couple of points:
1. re your 'may I add: in production?' Of course you may, but I think it is
better left out. IMO the evolution of 'production' as something distinct
from 'consumption' is part of the development of an historical
pre-condition of capitalism. Under capitalism ('in the bourgeois epoch')
labour is, of course, only that work performed under capitalist production
relations (ie not domestic 'labour', voluntary 'labour' etc).
2. I agree strongly with your last para., that clearly expresses the
difference between you, me, Ale, Jerry, Duncan and some others on this list
(whatever our differences), on the one hand, and Paul C and Allin C (and
perhaps others) on the other hand.

Comradely greetings,

Dr Michael Williams
"Books are Weapons"

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