Monday, August 29, 2005

Foundations-notes from the Grudrisse. Foreword II

The manuscripts consist of two main chapters: on money and capital; and two more fragments on Bastiat and Carey.

In 1859, Marx chose to drop the Introduction and write a new one. [This will be considered later.]

Chapter on Money

Money comes to signify a whole set of social relations (not just mere paper or gold.) "Capital," too comes to signify a set of social relations based on opposite laws impelled onwards and undermined by the inner tensions. Explanation to follow in detail.

At first the chapter on Capital is difficult to follow, in part due to digressions and repeated assertions. Also as a result of cross purposes. Marx wrote that he intended to advance a systematic account, as well as a get out a pamphlet on "the ongoing economic crisis."

Details of Chapter:

The beginning addresses a bank reform by the Proudhonianist, Dairimon. After a drain of gold from France which produces a scarcity of money, interest rates go up. The people can't borrow. Solution? Go off gold standard which bring interest rates to zero, follows the Proudhonist slogan "Free Credit." Marx then points to the differences between money and credit and points out the "ordinariness" of Dairimon's requests.

The second phase of the Proudhoninists' plan brings Marx to his major theoretical questions. Their plan is to replace the money system with a labour time system.

Marx agrees with labour-time proponents that the value of any commodity is determined by the labour time it cost to produce. True on average only. Money serves the function of averaging out to a common standard or measure.

{I will continue to update this section but for now my fingers grow weary. So You will not see new dates but an extension of this entry . I still have 10 pages on section 2 to go.}

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Foundations-notes from the Grudrisse. Foreword I

Follow along with me as I take notes from Karl Marx's The Grundrisse-Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy. Translated with a foreword by Martin Nicholas. The Karl Marx Library, Vintage Books 1973 edition

I will include my notes on the foreword as well. My main method for reading major works is to read the chapter, go back and highlight in such a manner as highlights form sentences naturally. At times I have had to add the text to formulate coherent paragraphs and sentences, but the main thrust of the text has not been altered. In short why read 800 pages you can now read 50.

In addition to my truncated version of the Grundrisse, I will add commentary or allusions as I see fit. The additional work will be set on this blog in such a manner as to make it obvious.

Notes :
Foreword I

The Grundrisse stands midway between the Manifesto (1848) and the first publication of Capital. (1867) [A series of 7 notebooks] it's triggering force originated in the revolutions of 1848-50 9 (or at least their defeats.)

After the defeat of the workers' insurrection in Paris, Marx and Engels advanced the thesis that revolution had become impossible for the foreseeable future.[I have talked about this before, but Marx was continually extinguishing the flames of rebellion among his fellow socialists.]

Marx's analysis of the character of the 1848 revolutions consisted of two major classes which composed the revolutionary camp, the working class and the lower middle class or the petite bourgeoisie. (bg. hereafter)

It was the the relative inexperience of the working class that led to it's defeat. From it a new politics arose " Social Democracy" whose hope it was to bribe workers in to accepting their conditions.

Marx chooses 2 main theoretical antagonists to oppose in the book. They were David Ricardo [ for the bg.] and Pierre Proudhon.[communist]