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Download Beyond Capital: Marx’s Political Economy of the Working by M. Lebowitz PDF

By M. Lebowitz

Winner of The Deutscher Memorial Prize 2004. In a very remodeled variation of his vintage (1991) quantity, Michael A. Lebowitz explores the results of the e-book on wage-labour that Marx initially meant to put in writing. Focusing upon severe assumptions in Capital that have been to be got rid of in Wage-Labour and upon Marx's technique, Lebowitz stresses the one-sidedness of Marx's Capital and argues that the facet of the employees, their objectives and their struggles in capitalism were neglected through a monolithic Marxism characterised by way of determinism, reductionism and a silence on human experience.

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Additional info for Beyond Capital: Marx’s Political Economy of the Working Class

Sample text

Simply that they are separated from the means of production and, to obtain the use-values they need, must sell their capacity to perform labour to capitalists, the owners of those means of production. What the worker secures in this way is ‘a means of subsistence, objects for the preservation of his life, the satisfaction of his needs in general, physical, social etc’. What he yields, on the other hand, is the right of disposition over his ‘creative power, like Esau his birthright for a mess of pottage’ (Marx, 1973: 284, 307).

Nevertheless, this universal tendency of capital to develop productive forces faces barriers inherent to capital; it is restricted by the social relations of production of capital. This new social being requiring manysided gratification emerges in a particular social situation: her new needs create a new dependence and require fresh sacrifices. Assume, for example, that the needs of workers were indeed constant. In that case, the development of social productivity would lead to a reduction in necessary labour and to the possibility of the emergence of ‘free time’.

As Lukács stressed, orthodox Marxism rejects the uncritical acceptance of everything that Marx wrote. 4 The premise of Beyond Capital, however, is that it is possible to get it right. This is an attempt to build upon Marx’s method to demonstrate that Marxism contains in itself ‘all the fundamental elements needed to construct a total and integral conception of the world’. Here, then, is the test – whether we can demonstrate that Marxist theory does correspond to ‘the facts’. Clearly, we must attempt to explain those ‘two anomalies’ that Burawoy identified – ‘the durability of capitalism and the passivity of its working class’; however, we must also respond to the criticisms of Marx introduced earlier in this chapter – criticisms which relate not to Marx’s analysis of capital but to his analysis of capital’s ‘other’, its ‘gravediggers’.

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