Political Economy

Beyond Capital: Marx's Political Economy of the Working by Michael A. Lebowitz

By Michael A. Lebowitz

A very remodeled variation of his vintage quantity, Michael Lebowitz's Beyond Capital explores one of many nice debates between Marx students, that of the results of Marx's uncompleted works. Lebowitz makes a speciality of the facet of the employees, which, he argues, used to be now not built in Marx's Das Kapital and which was once to be the topic of his meant booklet on wage-labor. Beyond Capital criticizes the one-sidedness of a lot of Marxist concept and argues that Marx's political economic climate of the operating type and how within which people produce themselves via their struggles are crucial for going past capital.

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6. Wage Labour State International Trade World Market3 These were not isolated references. Indeed, the conception of the work as a six-book whole can be found in the pages of the Grundrisse, the notebooks upon which Marx was working at the time. The first three books were to establish the ‘inner totality’ of circulation, setting out the three classes that he viewed as the presupposition of economic activity. Following this development of the internal structure of production, there was to be the ‘concentration of the whole’ in the State, the State externally in the volume on International Trade and, finally, the World Market (and crises).

The wages of labour have thus exactly the same significance as the maintenance and servicing of any other productive instrument … (Marx, 1844c: 284, 308). Thus, denying the worker as human being – indeed, failing to grasp the denial of the human being inherent in the wage-labour relation, bourgeois political economy could not understand the place of the proletariat within capitalism. The alienation and estrangement in labour performed for capital, the indignation to which the proletariat was necessarily driven by the contradiction between its self and its condition of life, the position of wage-labourer as the negative and destructive side within the whole – all this was a closed book to political economy (Marx, 1844c: 270–82; Marx and Engels, 1845: 33–7).

The case of working conditions and shortened work lives in special economic zones and maquiladoras suggests that what Marx wrote is as true as ever. And, is capital’s treatment of the natural environment any different? Marx proposed that ‘the entire spirit of capitalist production, which is oriented towards the most immediate monetary profit’ is contrary to ‘the whole gamut of permanent conditions of life required by the chain of human generations’ and that all progress in capitalist agriculture in ‘increasing the fertility of the soil for a given time is a progress towards ruining the more long-lasting sources of that fertility’ (Marx, 1981b: 754n).

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