Notes on Postone II: What is meant by history?

Short note on TLSD. It strikes me that Postone also lets the idea of ‘history’ do a lot of heavy lifting for him. On one hand much of his re-interpretation of Marx is premised on his account of Marx’s historically specific critique of labour. On the other hand he makes several claims about different historical periodizations of capitalism. He also argues that the Soviet Union can be seen as capitalist. Again I’m re-reading the book but I don’t recall any in depth discussion of how these two uses of history relate to each other. Instead there is no substantiation of the relation between the intrinsic historical dynamic of capital and its different forms of historical appearance in the 19th century, its manifestation in western bureaucratic capitalism and soviet capitalism, and contemporary capitalism which somehow entails Marx has to be reassessed. This raises the question if Postone had a more specific definition of capitalism, whether the Soviet Union could be included in his analysis. For instance it seems to me that if he was following Banaji’s notion of the capitalist laws of motion, or Heinrich’s idea of the ideal average, that the Soviet Union would not be capitalist. Since he is not this raises the question of what Postone leaves out of his account of capitalism that account for its historical specificity, it also raises the question of how useful or incisive his interpretation of Capital is other than its useful role in pointing out the importance of several of Marx’s categories. This is probably why Postone signals that he plans on building on the analysis he has uncovered in TLSD. From what I know he has not done this yet.

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About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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One Response to Notes on Postone II: What is meant by history?

  1. Pingback: Critical Notes on Moishe Postone « communism

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