Dependency theory (Charles)
juliohuato at SPAMhotmail.com
Tue May 29 13:57:36 MDT 2001
>CB: Marx doesn't say he has a "real purpose". That is your usage. Marx's
>purpose is to provide a WHOLE investigation, which includes the logical and
>the historical. This is dialectical and historical materialism.
Did you read the quote?
>Your discussion here and below seems to think that the "illustrative"
>examples , as you term them, have nothing to do with Marx's purpose in
>writing _Capital_, like they are just baubles tacked on to what you think
>is the essence and real purpose of his investigation. They are not. They
>contribute to achieving his purpose too. He didn't just include them for
>fun , but outside what you think is his "real" purpose.
You did not read the quote. Marx uses the word 'illustration'. It's in the
quote. Marx sasys it. England is used as an 'illustration'. Now, notice I
didn't say that the historical 'illustrative' portions of Capital are
useless. I said, they form a unity with the logical aspects of Capital.
Now, a unity of two clearly different things. They are NOT mutually
exclusive but they are different. So, question: What aspect of Marx's
Capital (the logical or the historical) is the MOST important one when
understanding the evolution of historical capitalism in Latin America? Both
at once? It's obvious to me that the whole argument in Capital is driven by
logic and NOT by history.
>And so Marx's references to politics in these passages , discussions of
>politics here refutes your claim that Marx does not present the political
>dimensions of capitalism in _Capital_.
Marx does not focus on the political dimensions of capitalism in Capital.
In the first sentence of his Preface to the Contribution (1859) Marx
announced that it was his plan to "examine the system of bourgeois economy
in the following order: capital, landed property, wage-labour; the State,
foreign trade, world market." Can you see where he was planning to address
the political dimensions of the 'bourgeois economy' as the main focus of his
>CB: Marx's illustrative materials are not nothings , and he includes them
>as part of fulfilling his purpose in writing _Capital_. They are not
I fully agree.
>CB: One of those laws of motion is that force is itself an economic power.
That is NOT a specific law of motion of capitalism. That is a law of motion
of ALL societies until now. The interesting question is, HOW -- under the
domination of capitalist production -- is force used? What's its place in
the inherent tendencies of capitalist production?
>CB: I haven't denied the validity of these abstractions or rejected the
>conceptual distinctions. Marx moves from the abstract to the concrete. You
>remain stuck in the abstract phase of his method.
I have presented my views on the reasons why Latin American capitalism is
underdeveloped. My presentation has obviously been general, but if you
think that you're providing a more concrete characterization of this social
formation in your postings, I fail to see it. I'll let readers judge
whether I'm stuck in the abstract phase. What I deny is that anywhere in
your postings we will find, first, an analysis of the elements in the Latin
American social formation, and then, the concrete thoughtful synthesis we
are all wishing for. If not the whole thing, at least some useful hints.
You demand that I land on the reality of political struggles, but where do
you provide us with a guide or good hints to deal with the political issues?
>CB: Well, that is pointing me to where he [Marx] says it [that his purpose
>in Capital is uncovering the 'self-identity' of capitalism].
>It is not the key thing, because the key thing is to change it, capitalism
>that is. And you can't change it by only focusing on its distinguishing
>characteristics , but rather its concrete totality which includes both its
>distinguishing and generic class society characteristics. The key to
>socialist revolution is not only the unique characterisitics of capitalism.
Charles, I may be struggling a lot to convey ideas using other than my first
language here, but you don't make any effort to assist in the communication
process. I'm not going to complain about that. Now, my suggestion to
readers who (like me) are struggling to grasp the useful, Marxist use of the
cateogory of 'essence' is to refer to Hegel's Logic (particularly the first
two books, on Being and Essence), Marx's Grundrisse (1857 Introduction and
many other parts), Lenin's Philosophical Notebooks (his notes on the first
two books of Hegel's Logic, in particular), and Roman Rosdolsky's book on
the Grundrisse. Of all of these references, one that may be particularly
relevant here is in the chapter of circulation in Grundrisse, where Marx
refers to how Ricardo grasps better the 'true essence of capital' by
IGNORING the difficulties of realization, under-consumption, etc. that
plague concrete historical capitalist reproduction. Marx emphasizes that
Ricardo understands better the 'essence of capitalist reproduction' than
Sismondi and Malthus who throw at him descriptions of the convulsive,
concrete way in which capitalist reproduction actually takes place. Please
do not infer from this that I believe everything Ricardo said was right,
that I believe everything Sismondi and Malthus said was wrong, or that I
deny the concrete, historical problems of capitalist reproduction, etc.
>CB: What people have done this ? None who have been arguing with you on
>this list about this.
It seems to me that you and others have ignored the conceptual distinctions
between modes of production and social formation, economic structure and
super-structure, between production forces and economic structure. Some
have claimed that production with slave or forced labor is some kind of
capitalist production. I have objected to this. I think that's on the
record, but I may be wrong. My interest is to learn and help others learn
in the process.
>The struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is both economic
>and political. Somehow when some people discuss the political part you
>have a mental block as to the fact that those people also discuss the
Now you're confusing things even more. You are mixing the understanding of
the capitalist social formation as an articulation of modes of production
and super-structures with the forms of the workers' class struggle. These
issues ARE related, but they are two separate issues. It was the former
which was being debated. An understanding of the main dynamics of the
social formation depends on a clear analysis of the modes of production that
operate together and conflict in it. This is crucial to class struggle,
both political and economic.
>You have absolutely no monopoly on discussing or understanding the economic
>aspect of capitalism, certainly not because you disdain to discuss the
>political part. That is quite a mental snafu you pull. We are discussing
>BOTH aspects. You are discussing only one part. That does give you warrant
>to claim that we are not also discussing the part that you do.
As long as you tells us what YOU are discussing, I have no problem. I do
the best I can to explain what I am discussing.
>CB: Well, if that is what you think then you can change your mind right
>now. Nobody here has skipped any economic part. That is a dillusion you
>have contracted. Show me one post in this debate from your opponents that
>skips the economic dimensions of imperialism in Latin America and the Third
>World. Lenin's _Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism_ is an essay
>on economics mainly.
I have tried to make clear my contention on this issue. In particular, I
refer the reader to my recent comments on Mine's posting.
>CB: They wouldn't have existed at all without the state power. Marx's
>discussion of the primitive accumulation emphasizes:
>"These methods depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system.
> >But, they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and
> >force of society, to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of
> >transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode,
> >and to shorten the transition. Force is the midwife of every old society
> >pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power. "
>State power, i.e. force was necessary to bring capitalism into existence at
I have said already that you are confusing the creation of the historical
premises of capitalist production with capitalist production itself.
There's no point on running around circles.
>CB: IF YOU CANNOT SEE THAT THIS IS FALSE [that police and prisons are not
>LOGICALLY necessary for capitalist production], I CAN'T HELP YOU. THIS IS
>GRAMCIAN HEGEMONISM SWALLOWING THE WHOLE , OR SOMETHING. THE WHOLE BASIS OF
>THE LOGIC THAT HISTORY IS A HISTORY OF CLASS STRUGGLES IS THAT EXPLOITED
>WORKING CLASSES WILL NOT ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE EXPLOITED IF THEY ARE NOT
>SUPPRESSED BY A STATE POWER, DOMINANCE OF FORCE.
I stand by my statement, which I think you misunderstand. Again, the issue
is not whether capitalists use state power. I'll try to address this issue
in more detail in another posting.
>CB: If they meant a economic relationship in the first place, why did they
>use a legal, i.e. political, term ?
Well, ask them. Or you try to find a term to describe the different
economic relationships that may arise as a result of appropriating and
controlling nature or products (or people) as it is required by production
in general. Before you jump on me at this, check Grundrisse's 1857
Introduction. I'll quote the relevant part at the end of the posting. Now,
this is a terminological problem that Plekhanov, for instance, notice. IMO,
he got in trouble with himself by discussing it. IMO, Marx was just matter
of fact. Engels explained somewhere the dilemmas of using old terms or
coining new ones. This is Plekhanov commenting on Marx's Preface: "Property
relations of men belong to the sphere of their legal relations: property is
first of all a legal institution. To say that the key to understanding
historical phenomena must be sought in the property relations of men saying
that this key lies in the institutions of law. [...] After all, right is
right, and economy is economy, and the two conceptions should not be mixed
up," etc. (The Monist View.) Also, Gerald Cohen (Karl Marx's Theory of
History) takes up Plekhanov's discussion and tries to clarify this. Maybe
you can helps us straighten things out in this question. I mean it in a
>CB: OK. YOU ARE RIGHT . THIS IS IMPORTANT. YOU ARE MIXED UP LOGICALLY.
>NOBODY HERE SAYS WE CAN GET RID OF CAPITALISM WITHOUT CHANGING THE
>RELATIONS OF PRODUCTION AND _ONLY_ "SMASH" THE STATE. WE ARE SAYING BOTH ,
>AND YOU KEEP MISREPRESENTING WHAT WE SAY AS ONLY MAKING POLITICAL CHANGE.
Let me humbly say that you DID imply that by destroying state power, poof...
capitalists are gone. But I'm glad you are correcting yourself.
>THERE IS NO REASON TO CONTINUE THIS UNTIL YOU ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT WE ARE
>ACTUALLY SAYING ON THIS SPECIFIC POINT.
Ok. As I said in another note, I think we have argued this enough. Let the
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