[OPE] absinence theory

From: Paul Cockshott <wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Sat Oct 23 2010 - 06:05:34 EDT

Gerry when I mentioned the abstinence theory I did not mean that you were a follower of that idea. I know you too well to say that. What I meant is that the idea that profits in dept III can be accumulated is an illusion analogous to that underlying the abstinence theory.
Marx ridiculed abstinance theory because , he said, it was ridiculous to congratulate capitalists for abstaining from consuming power looms and steam engines etc since these were by nature unconsumable. The abstinence theory of profit took the monetary appearance of the social division of labour to to the individual capitalist for the reality. Monetary relations are a screen onto which the social division of labour casts an image. the social division of labour is the essence, the monetary relations the appearance.
That is an idea that originates in the platonic parable of the cave, in modern terms monetary relations are a sub manifold onto which the social division of labour is projected.
Projection onto a submanifold suggests things are possible which, in the higher dimansional space are impossible. This is the philosophical/mathematical idea pursued by Escher.
As Marxists we should view Escher as an ironic commentary on monetary illusions.

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Received on Sat Oct 23 06:07:49 2010

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