Re: [OPE-L] Grundrisse. Help

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Fri Aug 04 2006 - 12:48:00 EDT

Just very quickly:

The influence of Quesnay can be seen in how Marx treats
"circulation as a medium for reproduction". It's antitheoretical
to have separate books on circulation, wage labour, credit, landed property.
The question is their inner unity. This Marx shows by way
of a theory of the reproduction of total capital, "the movements
of capital as a whole." Only then can the specific or more concrete
theories of production and circulation
and the specific theories of wage labor, crisis, the particular forms
of capital,
and landed property  be related to each other and each find their place
in a unifed  theory of capital as dynamic process of reproduction.

Otherwise you'll just have intellectual chaos
of separate theories of unrelated objects. This is what Marx had to overthrow--
theoretical anarchy.

  He had to find a basis for integration, and that basis is the idea
of self constraining production, the theorization of production and
circulation in terms
of the limit of having to undertake production again.

The six book plan would have yielded...theoretical anarchy.
There is no artistic wholeness to it; it's just separate books about
ossified THINGS
treated as independent of one and another.

The four book plan announces
a unifed theory of the capitallist PROCESS as a whole, and this is what Marx
did in fact finish.

Yes Marx makes modifications to Quesnay's model--he begins with money not
commodity capital, his departments are different, his theory of
reproduction is dynamic,
he understands banking and commercial capital as sterile rather than mfg, etc.

But Marx has a theory of reproduction, though his theory of
reproduction is dynamized.

Sraffa has a theory of reproduction but it is not dynamized.

YOurs, Rakesh

>On Thu, 3 Aug 2006, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:
>>  To see this we can't reduce Marx's debt to Quesnay to the
>>  reproduction schema only. This is what Fred has done, I think.
>>  The debt to Quesnay is present in the architectonic of of the three
>>  volumes of Capital as a whole.
>>  The first volume studies the production of the net product; the
>>  analysis of the net product depends on distinction between constant
>>  and variable capital, and the second
>>  volume focuses on the interdependence between the two productive departments
>>  of
>>  means of production and wage goods as realized in exchange; the third
>>  volume then studies the process of reproduction as a whole, including
>>  both the limits to that process of reproduction (FROP) and
>>  the integration of the new elements-- the credit mechanism, the other
>>  forms of capital (commercial
>>  and banking) and  landed property.
>>  Marx moves successfully from an abstracted study of the production of
>>  the net product  to a theory of the reproduction of capital as a
>>  whole. The third volume is dynamic and concrete, and the
>>  dis-simulating surface appearances  of capitalist society (e.g. the
>>  trinity formula) are indeed theoretically explained.
>Rakesh, I disagree rather thoroughly with your interpretation of the
>overall logic of the three volumes of Capital.  Quesnay's circular flow is
>not the overall logical method for the three volumes of Capital.  The
>circular flow is the third form of the circuit of capital discussed by
>Marx in Chapter 3 of Volume 2 - the circuit of COMMODITY capital:
>C'-M'-C...P...C'.  (please see the end of Chapter 3 and the beginning
>of Chapter 20)  As I have argued before, Marx used this form of the
>circuit of commodity capital for the specific purpose of criticizing
>"Smith dogma".
>I argue that the general analytical framework of Marx's theory of value
>and surplus-value is instead the circuit of MONEY capital:
>M-C...P...C'-M', which is abbreviated in Chapter 4 of Volume 1 as
>the "general formula
>for capital":  M-C-M', where M' = M+ dM.  This is the main question
>that Marx's theory is intended to explain, and this is the framework for
>analysis of this all-important question:  how does the initial M become
>M+dM?  The valorization of capital begins with M, i.e. with a quantity of
>money capital advanced to purchase means of production and labor-power.
>It does not begin with C', which is the RESULT of capitalist production,
>and which therefore ALREADY CONTAINS SURPLUS-VALUE.  The point of Marx's
>theory is rather to explain the determination of surplus-value, not take
>it as given, as already existing.
>Volume 1 is mainly about the production of surplus-value (dM), or the
>determination of the total surplus-value produced in the economy as a
>whole.  Volume 2 is mainly about the turnover time of the circuits of
>money capital, including the different rates of turnover of fixed and
>circulating capital, and the reproduction of the total social capital,
>especially constant (i.e. the critique of Smith's dogma)  Volume 3 is
>mainly about the distribution of surplus-value, or the division of the
>total surplus-value (or total dM) into individual parts:  equal rates of
>profit, commercial profit, interest, and rent.
>I think you are making way too much of  Quesnay's influence on Marx.
>I don't think that Marx abandoned the logical structure of the six book
>plan; he just never got beyond the first book.  Although I agree that he
>incorporated into Capital some abstract elements of what was originally
>planned for later books (e.g. wages in Volume 1, rent in Volume 3, and the
>credit system in Volume 3).  But he said in all these cases that much more
>on these topics would be discussed in later books.

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