JR was kind enough to point out my cock up on this post. In the post I point out that distorted it is a bad translation of verkehrten form. For some reason I then substitute verrückt for verkehrten. I don’t how I managed to do this. I would like to say its an extraordinary gaffe that is out of character. But considering the very same week I managed to make it all the way to the gate for my return flight from Rome before I noticed that my ticket was for a different day, I can’t really make that claim. My writing up crackhole seems to be an inversion of its own in which I unconsciously constitute a series of inverted blunders. My German is also rudimentary. So beware and be kind enough to point out when any of these rough and ready posts are erroneous.
Anyway back to my cock up. What is translated as
“Nevertheless, it is not in this form that the matter appears to the agents of production, the bearers of the various functions in the production process, but rather in a distorted form.”
and which I said should be translated as:
“Nevertheless, it is not in this form that the matter appears to the agents of production, the bearers of the various functions in the production process, but rather in a perverted form”
Should really be translated as:
“Nevertheless, it is not in this form that the matter appears to the agents of production, the bearers of the various functions in the production process, but rather in a inverted form.”
Luckily, my blunder wasn’t too massive since there is an important relationship between verrückt and verkehrten which is best indicated by translating them as perverted and inverted. In Backhaus and Bonefeld’s interpretation of Marx inversion is the result of the perverted process of social constitution.
In sum, Marx critique is not an economic critique of bourgeois economics nor does it entail some sort of abstract negation of capital. It entails, rather, a determinate abstrac- tion [bestimmende Abstraktion], an abstraction which determines the forms of capital as perverted forms of human relations.12 Marx’s critique is intransigent towards any reification and fetishism, to any notion that the relations between the things, the perverted forms of capital, embody extra-human properties or that labour is a mere macro- economic factor. The world of things is a world in and through which human social practice exists in the mode of being denied. His critique of fetishism seeks to uncover that which stands denied and to bring it to the fore as the content of the things themselves, and that is human social productive practice. Marx’s critique of political economy is a ‘critique of the system of economic categories as “the distorted form in which the real inversion is expressed”’ (Backhaus, 1997,20, quoting Marx, 1972: 453). It is thus a matter of deciphering the appearance [Schein] of independence that economic categories posits and then of abolishing it practically from the world allowing human beings to enter into relationship with one another, not as personifications of economic categories, but as social individuals (Reichelt, 2000: 105). From Bonefeld Kapital and its subtitle: Critique 59
Translating verkehrten form as inverted form therefore makes clear how Marx conceives of the characteristics of capitalist social production in a way that distorted doesn’t