[OPE-L] Six book plan, foreign trade

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sat Sep 23 2006 - 15:42:25 EDT

On the missing books about foreign trade and the world market, I
would refer to Quesnay's analysis of foreign trade (I had the
pleasure of re-reading II Rubin on the Physiocrats as I was
interested in why Duncan Foley referred to Adam's rather than
Quesnay's fallacy).

According to Rubin,  Quesnay argued that free trade would stimulate
expanded reproduction by raising agricultural prices in the
singularly productive sector and depressing the prices of sterile
mfgs. The point is that the analysis of foreign trade was
theoretically controlled by the question of expanded reproduction.

Even though he did not collect his comments in one place,  Marx did
in fact derive the necessity of foreign trade from the expanded
reproduction of capital and demonstrate the multiple ways in which
foreign trade can affect the expanded reproduction of capital.

There is good evidence that Marx completed the theory of foreign
trade from the theoretically controlled perspective of expanded

See here Tony Smith's and Grossman's writings. Even Enrique Dussel
who (Fred notes) argues that there are fifteen missing books says
that the essence of dependency can be found in the redistribution of
value implicit in the formation of global prices of production. But
this suggests the completeness of Marx's theoretical argument!

Marx certainly did not write a book length empirical history of
foreign trade (or landed property), but he abandoned the six book
plan in which such a history was called for.

But this does not mean that there is no empirical work to do at all.
Quite the opposite.

Given that Marx theoretically disclosed how foreign trade can affect
the expanded reproduction of capital, we can then set study just this
question empirically. Which is what Grossman attempted in his time as
Carchedi has attempted in our time.

So we have an open and always already incomplete book but Marx's
Capital is not an open book--it is a self-enclosed and completed
theory of its object.


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