From: Pen-L Fred Moseley (fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU)
Date: Sat Apr 28 2007 - 11:20:35 EDT
Quoting Michael Schauerte <mikeschauerte@GMAIL.COM>: > I listed three versions of the passage from Marx that uses the term > "detour" or "roundabout way." You can see that there is a variation between > using the pronoun "we" or "commodity owners" as the subject, and that > expressions like "equating to" or "equating with" are used. At any rate, > this is one example of the "detour" Kuruma is referring too. I have used it > in my translation too, although in some respects "roundabout way" (not > "roundabout way of saying") might be better. For most of the passages quoted > from Marx in my translation of Kuruma's book I have relied on Hans Ehrbar's > excellent translation, but here I think I will have to make a number of > alterations. > > I would be interested if anyone has an alternative translation of this > passage from Capital that begins: "Indem z.B. der Rock als Wertig der > Leinwand gleichgesetzt wird, wird die in ihm steckende Arbeit der in ihr > steckenden Arbeit gleichgesetzt..." > > > "By equating, for example, the coat as a thing of value to the linen, we > equate the labor embedded in the coat with the labor embedded in the linen. > Now it is true that the tailoring labor which makes the coat is concrete > labor of a different sort from the weaving labor which makes the linen. But > the act of equating tailoring with weaving reduces the former in fact to > what is really equal in the two kinds of labor, to the characteristic they > have in common of being human labor. This is a roundabout way of saying that > weaving too, in so far as it weaves value, has nothing to distinguish it > from tailoring, and, consequently is abstract human labor." (Penguin, p. > 142) > > > > "By making the coat the equivalent to the linen, we equate the labor > embodied in the former to that of the latter. Now, it is true that the > tailoring, which makes the coat, is concrete labor of a different sort from > the weaving which makes the linen. But the act of equating it to the > weaving, reduces the tailoring to that which is really equal in the two > kinds of labor, to their common character of human labor. In this roundabout > way, then, the fact is expressed, that weaving also, in so far as it weaves > value, has nothing to distinguish it from tailoring, and, consequently, is > abstract human labor." (International, pp. 60-1) > > > > "By setting the coat, for example, as a thing of value equal to the linen, > the commodity owners also set the labor embedded in the coat equal to the > labor embedded in the linen. It is true, tailoring, which makes the coat, is > concrete labor of a different sort than weaving, which makes the linen. But > by equating the tailoring with weaving, the commodity owners reduce > tailoring in fact to what is really equal in the two kinds of labor, namely, > that they are both human labor. Through this detour over tailoring they say > that weaving too, in so far as it weaves value, has nothing to distinguish > it from tailoring, and consequently, is abstract labor." (Ehrbar) I think that Hans’ addition of "commodity owners" to Marx’s sentence is a mistranslation. Chapter 1 is about the objective properties of commodities, independent of the perceptions or evaluations of commodities owners. The title of Chapter 1 is "The Commodity". Marx introduces commodity-owners for the first time at the beginning of Chapter 2, as follows: "Commodities cannot themselves go to the market and perform exchanges in their own right. We must, therefore, have recourse to their guardians [for the first time], who are the possessors of commodities." And Marx emphasizes at the end of this paragraph the objective nature of his theory: "As we proceed to develop our investigation, we shall find, in general, that the characters who appear on the economic stage [e.g. commodities owners] are merely PERSONIFICATIONS OF ECONOMIC RELATIONS, it is as the bearers of these economic relations that they come into contact with each other." In other words, the objective laws of capitalism determine the perceptions and actions of individuals, not vice versa. Comradely, Fred ---------------------------------------------------------------- This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.
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