[OPE-L:1574] Re: Lapides and Marx's wage theory

Sun, 24 Oct 1999 10:21:32

On 10/24/99 at 09:08 AM, Gerald Levy <glevy@PRATT.EDU> said:
>Re Paul Z's [OPE-L:1562]:
>> I used to work intimately with a Marxist addressing precisely this
>> question: Juan Pablo Perez Sainz, "Capital, State and Fetishization",
>> RiPE, Vol 4, 1981, pp. 129-145. He never argued in public nor privately
>> for a "missing book". He just went about theoretizing the state in
>> capitalist society. Whether he succeeded with his attempt is separate
>> story.

>What else did Perez Sainz write? What was the thrust of his theory? Are
>you still in contact with him ... and where is he now?

Perez Sainz wrote his doctoral dissertation on the same subject (Leiden,
I think, about 1977), published on Francoist Spain and (with me) on
Venezuela in Latin Am. Perspectives. (including some calculations of
magnitudes of unproductive labor, sector by sector), and some other works
I don't immediately recall. Eventually he wound up in Guatemala and after
a time I lost track of him (I hope nothing happened to him!). If anyone
knows of him, please let me know. The base thrust of the theory of the
state work was relate Chapter One in Capital and Fetishization to "the
State" in capitalism. I valued his intellect highly. Thanks for asking.
>> Suppose that you
>> just dropped the idea that Marx himself intended to write FIVE more
>> "books" after Capital. What difference would it make? You could still
>> write exactly the same book you would otherwise have written. We don't
>> NEED Marx's implicit permission to go forward.

>Of course -- we don't need Marx's permission. And he is, in any event,
>unlikely to grant us permission from his grave in Highgate Cemetery.

I offer the following hypothesis: Defending the six-book thesis is in fact
asking for Marx's permission from the grave. And I'll say one more time,
just produce the new theory where you find existing theory weak. In 1572
you answer Jurriaan that a theory of wages can be produced. Fine, great,
let's have it by whomever wants to do the work. Kenneth Lapides put an
enormous amount of work into *Marx's Wage Theory in Historical
Perspective* (I can imagine all the hours reading, checking and
cross-checking and then starting over again) and we can use it as a
building block. Forget Kenneth's Chapter 11 "Is there a "Missing Book" on
Wage Theory" and forget Mike's Chapter 3 "The Missing Book on Wage Labor"
(with apologies to both for the work they did on those two chapters).

By the way, Jerry, your 1572 on Jurriaan, listing things which need to be
done regarding wages, says

"How the process of accumulation and trade cycles and economic crises
affects wages."

My "Accumulation of Capital, its Definition" paper which I posted Oct. 14
argues that the very definition of accumulation is ambiguous in Marx and,
after studying Lenin and Luxemburg on accumulation of capital, offers a
definition. We debated accumulation of capital a long time ago on this
list; now I have researched my position much more carefully and made
progress from where I was then.

>... If we
>believe that critique is a route towards further comprehending the world
>in thought, then our critique must extend to *all*, including Marx. This
>is what helps to distinguish Marxism from religion.

On the remainder of your posting which I don't need to reproduce except
the last two sentences, in my view making a big thing out of whether there
are "missing books" on Marx's authority is not helping to distinguish
Marxism from religion. I will also say that the process of scientific
production, including Marx, is sufficiently complicated and subjective,
that we must recognize that the very project changes its definition many
times and I see no point in even trying to tie Marx of 1858 (or 1859) to
Marx of 1883.

I will finally add that those of those who think that there is an
"epistemological break" in Marx date it AFTER the Grundrisse. That break
is centered on Marx's coquetting with Hegel even through the first
chapters of Capital, Vol. 1 (Part One was, however, based on his 1859
book). Thus, the "rococo ornamentation" comment of Luxemburg--remember
rococo means, in part, "superficial elegance", and also means "antiquated,
outmoded"-- is an exceptionally apt use of language. I had not heretofore
realized a connection between Althusser and Luxemburg. NB: this final
note is NOT integral to my reactions to the "missing book" discussion.


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