[OPE-L:7387] [OPE-L:918] Re: commodity money/ capitalism & communism

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 20 Apr 1999 10:07:48 -0400 (EDT)

Since no one else has said something in the last few days ...

I found this unsent message in my "postponed-messages" file. Even though
it refers to a discussion long-passed, it deals with a topic not really
discussed here:

Massimo wrote on Tue, 9 Dec 1997:

> Furthermore, a theoretical reading of money along the
> line of Marx's ***critique*** of political economy can conceive what
> money is about only with respect to a social function that instead
> belongs to an association of free producers (this is of course a
> political standpoint).

If I understand you correctly, you are asserting that an understanding
of the category of money (under capitalism) can only be conceived with
reference to its opposition to the social form that exchange takes place
under communism.

This, however, is not at all obvious. Can you explain it more?

> [...] For Marx, it is the point of view of the
> transcendence that gives us the theoretical yardstick to define what
> is the (alienated) nature of any category in contemporary capitalism.

Here you seem to be generalizing the point made above in the sense that
you are suggesting that _"any"_ (and every) category related to
understanding contemporary capitalism can only be comprehended with
reference to the "transcendence" (communism).

This seems to me to be a methodological statement on your point about the
(political) point of departure for an understanding of capital and a
critique of political economy.

If capitalism and political economy can only be comprehended with
reference to the political goal of communism, can't one be accused of
incorporating a "bias" into one's analysis?

I also wonder whether it is useful either theoretically or politically to
(over) specify the nature of communism. What sort of room does this leave
for the "association of free producers" to decide _for themselves_ the
characteristics of their society?

In solidarity, Jerry