Marx's original manuscript of Volume 3

From: Fred Moseley (fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU)
Date: Sat Jun 26 2004 - 22:30:01 EDT

Recent new listmember Regina Roth (welcome, Regina!) mentioned in her
self-introduction that she and I had co-edited an issue of the
International Journal of Political Economy on Marx's original manuscript
of what later became Volume 3 of Capital, written in 1864-65.

> Recently, I wrote some articles on Marx's manuscripts
> of the 1870s (in: Studies in Marxism) and on the  relationship between
> the author Marx and the editor Engels (in: Rethinking Marxism), and,
> together with Fred Moseley, I edited an issue of IJPE on "Marx, Engels
> and the text of volume 3 of _Capital_" (in print)

So I have attached a copy of our introduction to this issue, in case any
listmembers might be interested.

Most of you probably know that Marx's original manuscript of what later
became Volume 3 was published for the first time in the early 1990s in
German, as part of the new 150- volume authoritative Marx-Engels
Gesamtausgabe (MEGA).  For the first time, Marxian scholars (who read
German) have had the opportunity to examine Marx's actual manuscript, and
compare it to Engels' edited version.  Unfortunately, this important
manuscript has not and will not be included in the English 50-volume
Marx-Engels Collected Works (MECW), published by International Publishers
(I think obtaining a publisher for an English translation of this crucial
volume should be a top priority for English-speaking Marxian scholars).

The forthcoming issue of the IJPE presents four articles that discuss
Marx's original manuscript, and the differences between Marx's manuscript
and Engels' edited version.  All four articles are written by past or
present editors of the MEGA.  Regina herself is now an MEGA editor.  I am
very glad that she has joined OPEL.

My own general conclusion from reading these articles is that, in terms of
content, the difference between Marx's manuscript and Engels's edited
version is not that great (with a few exceptions).  The main difference is
that Engels made the manuscript look much more complete and finished than
it actually was, especially by breaking the manuscript into chapters and
sections, with titles, etc., especially in Part 3 and most of all in Part
5 (much of which is little more than a collection of  excerpts); and in
addition adding whole paragraphs and pages and even sections (most of
which are indicated in the text as Engels' addition, but not all)

One interesting thing that I learned from Regina in writing the
introduction together is that there are several different versions of
Chapter 1 of Volume 3.  In addition to the 1864 version, there are also 4
other versions of the beginning of the chapter (ranging from 2 pages to 8
pages long), dating from 1867-68.  There is an important conceptual change
between the 1864 draft and the 1867-68 drafts - more emphasis is placed on
the concept of COST PRICE in the latter draft.  Chapter 1 in the 1864
manuscript (and in the previous drafts and outlines of "Volume 3") is
entitled "Surplus-value and Profit".  The 1867-68 versions are entitled
"Cost Price and Profit."  Engels selected a mixture of these different
drafts, with emphasis on the later drafts, because Marx had emphasized to
him the concept of cost price in a letter in April 1868.  (This letter by
the way is very helpful for an understanding of Volume 3.  It lays out the
overall logic of the volume, and presents a concise summary of each part)

[A question for Regina: exactly when were the 1867-68 manuscripts
written?  How close were the dates to the date of this important letter of
30 April 1868?  I wonder if these drafts of Chapter 1 were the main
impetus for Marx's letter?  The letter has always seemed to "come out of
the blue", because I thought Marx was mainly preoccupied during this
period with the publication of Volume 1 in late 1867.  I didn't know that
Marx was also reworking Chapter 1 of Volume 3 during this period.  Regina,
was Marx also working on other parts of Volume 3 during 1867-68, or only
Chapter 1?]

I think Marx decided to emphasize the concept of cost price more, because
he had come to realize more clearly its importance for the determination
of prices of production (prices of production  are equal to cost price +
average profit).  So this is an interesting and important piece of the
development and evolution of Marx's thinking.

These alternative beginnings are scheduled to be published in the MEGA (in
German) in 2005.  Unfortunately again, these alternative beginnings will
not be included in the English MECW.  Regina and I are trying to figure
out a way to have these alternative beginnings translated into English and
published.  Unfortunately a third time, Paul Mattick is no longer editor
of the IJPE, so that outlet is no longer open.  If anyone has any
suggestion, I would very much appreciate hearing from you.


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