[OPE-L:1463] Re: Marx's ordering

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 12 Oct 1999 18:33:24 -0400 (EDT)

Re Andrew B's [OPE-L:1447]:

Hi Andrew. I's good to hear from you again.

I agree with the logic you outline below -- up to a point. But, I
would add:

a) Before we can comprehend a "circuit of capital", we must first
comprehend the logical (inter-) relationship among all of the subjects
below. I.e. before we can *reconstruct* in thought the empirical concrete,
we must first understand *how* it all "fits together". Otherwise, our
theory would take on an _ad hoc_ character and we would have no way of
knowing beforehand that the conclusions already derived would be
sustained once we "arrived at" a less abstract (excuse the expression)
level of abstraction.

b) Yet, despite the above, it seems to me that the very process of
presenting theory (especially when *writing*) requires one to challenge
the conclusions that one has already come to by e.g. *further
interrogation* of the empirical concrete. Thus, presenting theory does --
at least in some ways -- resemble a "work in progress" since one
re-formulates, further articulates, and perhaps even modifies one's
previous understanding and presentation. One might indeed even hope that
our theories are modified as a result of communication (scholarly or
otherwise) with our peers and in response to changing times and

c) If you agree that the ordering (implicit in the 6-book-plan) is
"obvious", what is the reason (or reasons) why Marxists haven't taken the
next -- "obvious" -- step and advanced *beyond* Marx's analysis of value
and a "circuit of capital" to comprehend the *state*? And why haven't
they (we) gone on to make a more serious examination of further concrete
topics such as foreign trade and the world market and crisis? What are we
waiting for?

In solidarity, Jerry

> Regarding Marx's ordering; it does seem obvious (to me, at least). In
> our epoch:
> To comprehend 'the state' it is (obviously) necessary to first
> comprehend the circuit of capital. To see this just try
> and go in the opposite direction, eg. comprehend 'tax' without first
> comprehending 'value'.
> Yet to comprehend the circuit of capital, it is first
> necessary understand Labour in general. To see this try to articulate the
> ciruit of capital without refering the prior concept of 'Labour'.
> Moving in the opposite direction from 'the state' then it is
> (obviously) necessary to comprehend what a state (so a 'nation') is,
> in general, before going on to specify the relation between different
> states (international relations). To see this, just try and specify two
> different 'states' without first establishing what the term 'state' refers
> to!
> Finally, try comprehending world market and crises minus any one of
> the above categorical levels. No chance!

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