Marx’s Version of the Trinity Formula II

Here’s a pdf i’ve done correcting the structure of Fernbach’s translation of the trinity formula. I know Fernbach makes some egregious errors in his translation of the chapter on interest-bearing capital, so I imagine there are also some errors in his translation of the trinity formula. However, I do think he does a better job of bringing out the aspects of autonomization and reification than the translation I posted yesterday. For instance compare his translation of these sections:

Capital, land, labour! But capital is not a thing, it is a definite social relation of production pertaining to a particular historical social formation, which simply takes the form of a thing and gives this thing a specific social character. Capital is not the sum of the material and produced means of production. Capital is the means of production as transformed into capital, these being no more capital in themselves than gold or silver are money. It is the means of production monopolized by a particular section of society, .the products and conditions of activity of labour-power, which are rendered autonomous vis-a.-vis this living labour-power and are personified in capital through this antithesis. It is not only the workers’ products which are transformed into independent powers, the products as masters and buyers of their producers, but the social powers and interconnecting form of this labour also confront them as properties of their product. Here we therefore have one factor of a historically produced social production process in a definite social form, and at first sight a very mysterious form.

with the other one

Capital, land, labour! However, capital is not a thing, but rather a definite social production relation, belonging to a definite historical formation of society, which is manifested in a thing and lends this thing a specific social character. Capital is not the sum of the material and produced means of production. Capital is rather the means of production transformed into capital, which in themselves are no more capital than gold or silver in itself is money. It is the means of production monopolised by a certain section of society, confronting living labour-power as products and working conditions rendered independent of this very labour-power, which are personified through this antithesis in capital. It is not merely the products of labourers turned into independent powers, products as rulers and buyers of their producers, but rather also the social forces and the future [? illegible] [A later collation with the manuscript showed that the text reads as follows: “die Gesellschaftlichen Kräfte und Zusammenhängende Form dieser Arbeit” (the social forces of their labour and socialised form of this labour). — Ed.] form of this labour, which confront the labourers as properties of their products. Here, then, we have a definite and, at first glance, very mystical, social form, of one of the factors in a historically produced social production process.

 

or again Fernbach’s

this economic trinity as the connection between the components of value and wealth in general and its sources, completes the mystification of the capitalist mode of production, the reification of social relations, and the immediate coalescence of the material relations of production with their historical and social specificity : the bewitched, distorted and upside-down world haunted by Monsieur Ie Capital and Madame la Terre, who are at the same time social characters and mere things.

 

with

this economic trinity represented as the connection between the component parts of value and wealth in general and its sources, we have the complete mystification of the capitalist mode of production, the conversion of social relations into things, the direct coalescence of the material production relations with their historical and social determination. It is an enchanted, perverted, topsy-turvy world, in which Monsieur le Capital and Madame la Terre do their ghost-walking as social characters and at the same time directly as mere things.

 

I also figure two dodgy translations are better than one. Maybe they will cancel some of each others mistakes out.

A word of warning about the pdf though– I copy and pasted it from my pdf of the Fernbach so the formatting is whack. I also inserted page breaks with the page numbers each section corresponds to in the Fernbach. marxtrinityfernbach

 

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About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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