Beyond Capital: Marx's Political Economy of the Working by Michael A. Lebowitz

By Michael A. Lebowitz

A very remodeled variation of his vintage quantity, Michael Lebowitz's Beyond Capital explores one of many nice debates between Marx students, that of the consequences of Marx's uncompleted works. Lebowitz specializes in the part of the staff, which, he argues, was once no longer constructed in Marx's Das Kapital and which used to be to be the topic of his meant publication on wage-labor. Beyond Capital criticizes the one-sidedness of a lot of Marxist proposal and argues that Marx's political financial system of the operating category and how within which people produce themselves via their struggles are critical for going past capital.

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Extra resources for Beyond Capital: Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class

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And, there as well, Marx stressed the growing need for money accompanying the extension of the realm of alien products (Marx, 1844c: 271–2, 274, 306). The Missing Book on Wage-Labour 35 Thus, Marx was consistent in pointing out the alienating nature of capitalist production which itself generates needs for commodities. The worker seeks to annihilate the alien and independent object by bringing it (back) within herself, by consuming it. Only by direct possession can the object be hers; her need is for the object that is the possession of another (Marx, 1844c: 299–300, 314).

The lack of correspondence of the theory of Capital to the facts is the most important reason to attempt to develop theoretically the side of the worker. However, there are two additional reasons. In their order of importance, they are (a) that Marx’s own dialectical logic requires consideration of the side of workers and (b) that Marx intended to explore the side of workers in a book on wage-labour. We will consider these in reverse order in the following chapters. 3 The Missing Book on Wage-Labour Man is distinguished from all other animals by the limitless and flexible nature of his needs … The level of the necessaries of life whose total value constitutes the value of labour-power can itself rise or fall.

In contrast, Marx emphasized that, in addition to the desire for limitless wealth (manifested in accumulation), there was also the ‘desire for enjoyment’ (Marx, 1977: 738–43). Alongside of – and in conflict with – the desire for accumulation, there was a capitalist desire for prodigality and luxury expenditure. Although it fell short of the drive to ‘raise consumption to an imaginary boundlessness’ of an earlier ‘consumptionoriented wealth,’ this passion for consumption was one of ‘two souls’ dwelling within the capitalist’s breast (Marx, 1977: 741; 1973: 270).

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