Foucault on Capital.

He weren’t no Left-Ricardian:

‘What did Marx do when in his analysis of capital he came across the problem of the workers’ misery? He refused the customary explanation which regarded this misery as the effect of a naturally rare cause of a concerted theft. And he said substantially: given what capitalist production is, in its fundamental laws, it cannot help but cause misery.Capital­ism’s raison d’etre is not to starve the workers but it cannot develop without starving them. Marx replaced the denuncia­tion of theft by the analysis of production.’ (Foucault/Kritzman 113)

About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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4 Responses to Foucault on Capital.

  1. Jura says:

    On the other hand, he situates Marx firmly in the same episteme as Ricardo. When “The Order of Things” was published in Czechoslovakia for the first time in the late 1980s, the translator wrote an article dissing Foucault for that (for that time and context, the article was pretty good: it argued that what distinguishes Marx from Ricardo are “determinate abstractions”).

    • HR says:

      I was trying to remember what he argued in ‘The Order of Things’ about Marx’s place in political economy on the basis of having only read part of it back in 2006. My suspicion is confirmed by your statement.

      This article makes an interesting case that Foucault’s later work–after The Order of Things– can be situated as an engagement with Marx as an an attempt to supplement Capital.

      In terms of periodization this is backed up by the quote i pulled which comes from a later interview.

    • HR says:

      er periodization as in distinguishing between the earlier Foucault’s interpretation of Marx and the later Foucault’s interest in Marx.

      • Jura says:

        Yeah, I remember reading “Discipline and Punish” and thinking, this is like an appendix to the chapter on Primitive Accumulation!

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