[OPE-L] Michael Schauerte

From: ope-admin@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu
Date: Mon Apr 23 2007 - 22:26:02 EDT

Our newest member, Michael Schauerte, joins us from Tokyo.
He explains his life, background, and interests in the following:

From:    "Michael Schauerte" <yk3mk3@my.email.ne.jp>

My name is Michael Schauerte, and I'm a US citizen who has been living in
Japan for the past 11 some years. I live in Tokyo with my wife and two
young daughters and I earn my living as a translator at a translation
agency. I graduated from Kenyon College (in Ohio) back in 1991, where I
studied French literature. I made my way to Marx via writers like Henri
Lefebvre, Lukacs, Frederic Jameson, and others in and around the Frankfurt
school who wrote about issues related to art or culture. It was only after
coming to Japan in 1995 that I gradually started reading works by Marx,
and then having a go at Das Kapital (in English, of course). From 1999 to
2001 I completed a Master's degree at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. At
the time I was still strongly interested in literary criticism, etc., and
my thesis dealt with the proletarian literature movement in Japan and the
ideas of Korehito Kurehara, who was its primary leader.

But already as a graduate student, I was becoming more interested in
political economy. I decided to enter the "workforce" rather than pursue a
PhD, and since then I have been studying on my own and with Japanese
friends and doing translations for marxists.org as a way to become more
familiar with Japanese Marxist economists and also introduce them to
people outside of Japan. In particular, I have been interested in the work
of Samezo Kuruma on topics such as money and crisis. A couple years ago I
met his son Ken, who is also an economist (retired from Rikkyo University)
and he has been assisting me with my translations. My translation of his
father's book "Theory of the Value Form and Theory of the Exchange
Process" is now nearing completion. The book looks at the theoretical
tasks Marx addresses in Sec. 3 of Ch. 1 and in Ch. 2 and the relation
between them. In particular, the book goes into detail about the "detour"
of value expression in Sec. 3, which unravels the "riddle!
  of money." The book arose out of a debate with Kozo Uno regarding
whether Marx was correct to abstract from the existence of the commodity
owner when discussing the value form.

By translating this and other works by Kuruma I have a certain familiarity
with the theory of the commodity at the beginning of Capital and the most
essential determinations of money. But I am interested now in moving from
this level of understanding and connect it to a more concrete
understanding of the monetary system in contemporary captialism. That is
to say, I understand the functions of money that Marx discusses, and have
a basic understanding of the credit system and the "credit money" that
emerges out of it, but I lose the thread at that point and don't know how
to proceed to an understanding of money under capitalism after the "Nixon
shock." I am looking forward to drawing on the knowledge of the OPE-L list
members to fill in some of the gaps in my understanding. I'll probably be
asking far more questions than providing any answers, but eventually I
hope to make a positive contribution to the mailing list.

Best regards,


Michael: If you ask more questions than providing answers we will be in
exactly the same boat.  Welcome aboard!

In solidarity, Jerry

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