Re: [OPE-L] capital in general as a real existence

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Mon Jan 17 2005 - 17:13:58 EST

At 10:23 PM +0100 1/17/05, Hanno Pahl wrote:
>  But what does Marx mean by posing that the capital in general
>itself has a real existence, too?

Hi Hanno,
I sent this message to OPE-L a couple of years ago.

By vol 3, Marx is nearing his descent to the concrete totality, yet
Marx seems not interested in *individual* capitals even as he
approaches them because any one individual capital does not yield--as
a result of the variance in compositions--surplus value at the same
rate as would the *typical particular* capitalist (that is, the
prototype of or a perfect aliquot of the whole class; Meek links
Marx's typical particular of a capital of average composition to
Sraffa's standard commodity).

In vol 3 Marx remains more interested in total surplus value produced
by all the individual capitals, and it is only in terms of
capital-as-a-whole that the total mass of surplus value can be
defined, and the average rate of profit determined.
Capital-as-a-whole is thus revealed to be itself a concrete unit with
its own specific attributes.

So even as Marx comes to appreciate fully individuality, as opposed
to typical particularity, in the multiplicity of capitals, he is not
ultimately interested in the the multiplicity or aggregate of
individual capitals but with the concrete individual that is itself
capital as a whole.

Itself a concrete individual, capital-as-a-whole is thus not like
say boats-as-a whole which is merely a *generalized concrete
abstraction* for small open craft, ocean liners, battleships and and
exchange carriers.

In this latter case the members are of course more concrete than the
abstract class.

But in the case of capital-as-a-whole, the class itself has been
concretized in that it alone has attributes that its members, as
individuals *abstracted* from that class, do not.

The capitalist *class* is not a not a mere plurality of capitals; it
is itself a fairly concrete unit.

I do not think we have here a  fallacy of misplaced concreteness or
an error of hypostatizing.

Yours, Rakesh

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