Capital as eternal compulsion

Another day, another interesting passage from Capital. I choose the following because it strikes me as one of the few places where the second level of Marx’s critique of political economy intersects with the first level. While there are plenty of times where Marx demonstrates how the foundation of the discipline of political economy corresponds to the outward appearance of capitalist social labour, and in so doing naturalizes it; here he indicates that this historically-specific type of labour could be eternalised by the way its compulsive internal logic ensures that proletarian self-preservation ensures the reproduction of capital:

‘What Mandeville, an honest man with a clear mind, had not yet grasped was the fact that the mechanism of the accumulation process itself not only increases the amount of capital but also the mass of the ‘labouring poor’, i.e. the wage-labourers, who turn their labour-power into a force for increasing the valorization of the growing capital, and who are thereby compelled to make their relation of dependence on their own product, as personified in the capitalist, into an eternal relation.’ Capital, Volume 1 p. 765.

I wonder if Heinrich has ever used this passage in his criticisms of breakdown theory….




About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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