Marx on Clocks.

It would be interesting to compare the following passage with Postone’s discussion of clocks qua his theory of abstract time, which I remember as taken from Mumford, not Marx.  The last sentence of this passage is rather hard to decipher (perhaps due to bad translation?) but it seems to me that Marx’s emphasis is on the uniform and abstract methods applied to production that might be said to be reflected in his idea of the universal laws of motion of capital that condition production whereas Postone emphasizes the development of time in terms of abstract measurement divorced from content. Furthermore it also seems that Marx treats the clock as the outcome of incremental historical development–its invention by artisanal production at the dawn of bourgeois society– whereas, if memory serves, Postone treats clocks as emblematic of capitalism in his dualistic historical periodization of capitalism/ non-capitalism. In either case I wonder why Postone did not use the following:

“The clock is based on the craftsmanship of artisanal production together with the erudition which characterises the dawn of bourgeois society. It gives the idea of the automatic mechanism and of automatic motion applied to production. The history of the clock goes hand in hand with the history of the theory of uniform motion. What, without the clock, would be a period in which the value of the commodity, and therefore the labour time necessary for its production, are the decisive factor?” MECW 33 p. 403


About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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