Lefebvre on Capital and Concrete Abstraction.

Polishing my Lefebvre chapter. Don’t recall if I posted these passages where he discusses Capital–

In Capital (1867) Marx worked out his conception of the dialectic still more thoroughly. The categories are abstract, inasmuch as they are elements obtained by the analysis of the actual given content, and inasmuch as they are simple general relations involved in the complex reality. But there can be no pure abstraction. The abstract is also concrete, and the concrete, from a certain point of view, is also abstract. All that exists for us is the concrete abstract. There are two ways in which the economic categories have a concrete, objective reality: historically (as moments of the social reality) and actually (as elements of the social objectivity). And it is with this double reality that the categories are linked together and return dialectically into the total movement of the world.


To each category there corresponds a new degree of economic objectivity, an objectivity at once more real and more apparent: more real because it dominates living men more brutally, more false because it masks men’s living relations beneath the deployment of Fetishism. More even than the commodity, money and capital weigh down on human relations from outside, yet they are only the expression and manifestation of these rela- tions.  83/84


In the first hundred pages of Capital Marx shows how a thing, a product assumes, under certain condi­tions, the form of a commodity. The thing splits in two: without losing its material reality and use value, it is transmuted into an exchange value. The thing as such is subjected to a transubstantiation, whereby it passes from qualitative to quantitative status, from its separate identity to confrontation with other things, from a sub­ stantial reality to a pure form (coins, money). The form attains its perfection when every single commodity can be evaluated by one universal equivalent: money. This analysis of use value and account of its formal development are well known. To Marx, the commodity form, which he traces through each sllccessive transfor­ mation, possesses the peculiar capacity of concealing its own essence and origin from the human beings who live with it and by it. The form is fetishized. It appears to be a thing endowed with boundless powers. The form re­ acrs upon its own content and takes possession of it. The thing turns man into its thing, disguising its own origins  and thc secret of irs birth, namely, that it is the product of specific human inrerrelations. This fctishist character of commodities, money, capital, has far-reaching consequences. It generates real appearances that befog “real­ity” (praxis) the more effectively because they are part of it. Analysis must dispel this fog, cut through the veil of appearance. The fetishized form takes on these two properties: as abstract thing, it becomes autonomous, and dissimulates the real relationships. We shall be com­ ing back to this analysis in closer detaiL  som47


About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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