Re: [OPE] Character masks

From: paul bullock <>
Date: Sun Jul 25 2010 - 06:54:29 EDT


I think we exchanged on this before. I thought that Marx used the term
Trager... role holder, or bearer, or wearer - which coincides with US
Behavioural theory's terminology in the 60's.

And as you say this precisely means that one performs a social role ...
whether subjectively either as a 'good' capitalist or a 'bad ' capitalist.
This role unfortunately or not for the holder - new rich or old - means that
the individual will do all he/she can to exploit and plunder the rest of
nature and especially the rest of humanity even as s/he pens sentimental
novels about the poor or subscribes 50% of their wealth to charity.



-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: 24 July 2010 17:36
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: Re: [OPE] Character masks

Hi Jurriaan:
I am still sailing and don't have the time or access to sources at this time
to expand upon the following, but I suggest that the point of departure for
comprehending this concept in Marx is to understand that its roots (for
Marx, I believe) are in Hegel's method of abstraction. While capitalists (or
workers!) can be *assumed* at one level of abstraction to wear character
masks, their subjectivity must be allowed for at a more concrete level of
abstraction. If one were to employ this assumption (a variant on the fallacy
of division) one wouldn't produce very sophisticated class analyses and/or
historical and geographical studies. Yet, as in most assumptions in Marx,
there is an element of truth to this assumption: the laws of value and
competition tend to compel individual capitalists willy-nilly to don their
masks. As in any generality, there are - of course - exceptions.
In solidarity, Jerry
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Received on Sun Jul 25 06:56:12 2010

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