Re: postone

> I understand Postone to be saying, then, that traditional Marxism focused
> on property and the market, whereas now he is going to focus on the nature
> of work. Not that he does enough or anything, but Marx does talk about
> this in the _Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts_. But perhaps Postone
> wants to distinguish "traditional Marxism" from Marx himself. So a
> preliminary question: is it right to say that traditional Marxism focused
> on what Postone says it focused on, and is the shift to a focus on "the
> nature of production, work, and 'growth' in capitalist society" going to
> effectively rejuvenate Marxist critique?
> --John

I would suggest that, insofar as "traditional Marxism" (which is, of
course, what Foucault would call a "heterogeneous ensemble") took the
labour theory of value as its starting point, it had to focus on the
process of production. Hence Marx's first volume of capital is
devoted to the topic of the "process of capitalist production". More
narrowly, it devotes a key chapter (ch. 5, as I recall) to the
labour-process in particular, as a form of human activity (considered
in abstraction from "production relations" which distinguish, say,
peasant agricultural labour from physically indistinguishable
proletarian agricutlural labour).

The whole point of CAPITAL v. 1 is to argue that all capitalist
wealth, which "presents itself as an immense accumulation of
commodities" (i.e., things), is really reducible to productively
harnessed human labour, and that such labour has a "two-fold
character" insofar as it produces both use-value (a relation between a
product and a consumer) and commodity-value (very roughly, a relation
between the labour of one producer and that of all others). Capital
itself, accordingly, is construed as "objectified labour." CAPITAL,
in other words, is devoted to the de-reification of the wealth
embodied in commodities.


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