[OPE-L:1530] Re: Lapides and Marx's wage theory

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 22 Oct 1999 06:34:33 -0400 (EDT)

Re Paul Z's [OPE-L:1528]:

> My
> essential point was that Capital as theory has revolutionary implications
> for the exploited class (more so than, say, the Communist Manifesto)

Of course, I agree. So, now that we've taken that issue off of the table,
let's consider what I view as the more essential question: the place of
_Capital_ within the whole of Marx's theory of capitalism and whether that
theory is "complete." Based on your prior messages, I take it that you
are not agreeing with the proposition that _Capital_ is "complete" but
are unconvinced by the arguments and evidence about a "missing book" on
"Wage-Labour". Is that a fair summary of your position?

> The citations to the last chapter of Volume III are interesting. I don't
> know how any position in this discussion is thereby strengthen or
> weakened, particularly given that that chapter is arguably the most
> fragmentary passage of significance ever seeing the light of day from
> Marx. For example, reading the material before and after "What
> constitutes a class?" one can easily defend the proposition that Marx is
> leading off a discussion of why "physicians, officials, splits within
> social labor, owners of vineyards, farm owners, owners of forests, mine
> owners and owners of fisheries" [listing drawn from that fragment] are NOT
> distinct CLASSES.

The subject of Part Seven of Volume 3 is: "The Revenues and its Sources".
And, in the paragraph you cite, i.e. the last paragraph of Ch. 52 and of
_Capital_, he mentions the revenues of different groups. While he probably
would have expanded on this chapter and this point had he written more and
prepared the drafts for publication (I think it is fair to suggest that
he would not choose to end _Capital_ with a 1 1/2 page chapter on
"Classes"), the question remains: 'What makes a class?' And that is
*Marx's own question* which he does not *then* answer.

> If Marx would make a right-wing philosopher proud, I get nervous.

Don't get nervous. If you have read Hegel (especially parts of the
_Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences_), you would recognize the
form of presentation. I.e. Before Hegel writes a separate chapter or book
on the next subject, he introduces it at the end of the prior chapter or
book. In Hegel, this is intended -- I think -- to show the logical
relation of one category to the next. Now, suppose just for the moment,
that Marx wanted to continue his theory by writing another book or books
(e.g. the next 5 books in the 6-book-plan). How, then, might he have ended
_Capital_? With a introduction to the next subject. I.e. the ending of
_Capital_ would represent the point of departure for the next book. Thus,
the ending would serve as a *transition* to the next book.

And, how exactly does he end _Capital_ (recognizing, of course, the
fragmentary nature of the chapter)?:

         "From this point of view, however, doctors and government
          officials would also form two classes, as they belong to two
          distinct social groups, the revenue of each group's members
          flowing from its own source. The same would hold true for the
          infinite fragmentation of interests and positions into which
          the division of social labour splits not only workers but also
          capitalists and landowners -- the latter, for instance, into
          vineyard-owners, field-owners, forest-owners, mine-owners,
          fishery-owners, etc (Ibid, p. 1026)


a) by noting, rather than really discussing, the "fragmentation of
   interests" of classes. [I interpret this to mean in Hegelian
   terminology, class *diversity*, as distinct from simple unity or

b) by noting the fragmentation of *land-owners*. What would be the more
   perfect, Hegelian-like, way to introduce the subject for "Book Two" --
   "Landed Property"?

Thus, the ending of _Capital_ is ENTIRELY consistent with the proposition
that Marx still intended when writing the drafts for what became Volume 3
to continue on with the other books in the 6-book-plan. Does this prove
the point, i.e. is it a "smoking gun"? Of course not. Yet, I believe it
deserves contemplation.

In solidarity, Jerry
> >Thus Marx begins *the last chapter of _Capital_* as follows:
> >"The owners of mere labour-power, the owners of capital and the
> > landowners, whose respective sources of income are wages,
> > profit and ground rent - in other words wage-labourers, capitalists
> > and landowners - form the three great classes of modern society
> > based on the capitalist mode of production" (Penguin ed., p. 1025).
> >Well, this is quite a "coincidence", isn't it? It _just so happens_ that
> >he introduces the subjects of the three classes right before ending
> >_Capital_. If only Marx had told us what the next question to be answered
> >was ...
> >Well, he did! In a manner that would have made G.W. Hegel proud, he
> >introduces the next subject to be addressed:
> > "The question to be answered next is: 'What makes a class?',
> > and this arises automatically from answering another question:
> > 'What makes wage-labourers, capitalists and landowners the
> > formative elements of the three great social classes?' (Ibid,
> > pp. 1025-1026).
> >Note that he doesn't attempt to answer in the remaining two paragraphs of
> >Capital_ the questions that he said are to be "answered next".

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