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Lane DiFlavis, LCSW Behavioral Health Spectrum Community Health Center SCHC. Transcription of Postone's Capital Lecture 6.
Postone is certainly correct in his assertion, based on his reading of the Grundrisse, that the heart of the development of the capitalist social totality is the “moving contradiction” between the drive to increase material productivity and the social form of wealth based on direct labor time, rather than “class conflict” conceived of.
28/6/2021 · Postone’s Time, Labor and Social Domination contains too many mentions of SNLT to excerpt. I will also refer occasionally to some of the voluminous literature on Marx’s category of socially necessary labour time, none of which so much as mentions Godwin or The Source and Remedy .
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What sense does it make then to claim that the commodity a thing produced by and for exchange is essential, but exchange is not? That proletarian labor is essential, but class is not? It makes sense only to the extent that Postone has redefined property, class, and exchange in a superficial manner in order to declare them inessential.
Postone is correct that capitalism is historically unique in that social relations are not constituted by direct personal domination, but are mediated by labor, which dominates the laborers as an abstract compulsion.
But labor can only become the general social mediation when the producers have been separated from their means of subsistence and must obtain them via equivalent exchange. This generalized separation marks the historical specificity of the class relation, and it arose via that violent dispossession Marx calls primitive accumulation , which is continually reproduced in and through the sale of labor-power as a commodity.
The specificity of capitalist private property lies not in that a non-laboring few appropriates a surplus — this has been true of every previous caste society — but that the laboring class possesses nothing on which to subsist but their own labor-power.
The overcoming of capitalism requires the abolition of commodity determined, value-producing labour, i. I understand this to be embodied in the convenient marriage of social democratic and Stalinist-influenced statist views of socialism. Alternatively, Postone offers a critique of labour in capitalism, in production, as the essence of social relations and what needs to be realised in socialism, and so cannot be self-abolishing.
Postone claims that it will not be labour that arrives at an understanding of this possibility, despite his understanding of the two-sided nature of commodity producing labour. He does not recognise the consequent two sides of labour consciousness, one that accommodates to capitalist relations, and one that threatens to overturn them. Postone is for emancipation, for freedom from the abstract compulsion of value production in capitalist society.
It also enables a richer explanation of the dynamic features of capitalist society, including the drive to environmental destruction, than critiques which rely on counterposing states and markets and focus on unequal distribution as definitive of capitalism. This deprives the post-capitalist future that he envisages, of any structural agency capable of its realisation. Janet Burstall. It follows that a proper critique of capitalism should understand labour as historically specific rather than as transhistorical, an assertion that stresses its dualistic nature as both concrete and abstract labour.
Here is my question: does rejecting the transhistorical notion of class necessarily entail subordinating class to the law of value, as Postone suggests? Specifically, Postone misses the fact that, for Marx, the self-valorisation of value rests in the separation of the possessor of labour-power, the only commodity-producing commodity, from the means of production, that is, the conditions for the realisation of that labour-power.
This concrete separation is negative since it questions the imposed universalism of capital while, at the same time, it is structured by it. By acknowledging only the positive dimension of class, then, Postone obscures the relevance of class struggle. I agree with his argument as to why we should abandon the transhistorical reading of labour and, by extension, of class , but I also believe that the above does not mean subordinating class to the imperatives of capital.
Christian Caiconte. Postone , pp. As a result, when productivity increases due to technological development, the innovative capitalist can gain a temporary increase in the magnitude of value produced, but as soon as the technologies they deployed become widely used in production, the magnitude of value produced per hour returns to the base level , despite increased productivity Postone , pp.
Indeed, according to Postone , p. As an anthropologist I come at this with an interest in the critique of capitalism from the standpoint of the legacy of its imperial and global expansion. This leaves me with a contradictory response to the categorical and dialectical ground that Postone lays out. Even weak theories embed an historically specific capital within the need to access a global distribution of resources across different forms of economic organisation.
To establish that the totality is intrinsically contradictory is to show that it remains an essentially contradictory identity of identity and nonidentity, and has not become a unitary identity that has totally assimilated the nonidentical p.
Postone is clear that the form through which social relations express this real abstract foundation may themselves be politically and socially variable. Postone may enable anthropologists to think about the gift as both the elementary relation in a distinct kind of economy in one context, and of the form of appearance of commodity relations in another. Neil Maclean.
This often takes the form of transhistorical essentialism, or otherwise violent abstraction, for example. This is some mind-bending dialectics and means that the negation of capitalism through the methodology of historical materialism would also entail the negation of the critique! From this foundation, Postone proceeds as Marx does to unravel the various categories that confront us to reveal the logic of how capitalist society reproduces itself while making possible its immanent negation.
Like Marx, Postone is concerned with how social categories, such as the commodity, conceal a relationship of essence and appearance. The appearance of a commodity — how it confronts us — is as a reified thing, a use value, that takes on a concrete form.
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28/6/ · Postone’s Time, Labor and Social Domination contains too many mentions of SNLT to excerpt. I will also refer occasionally to some of the voluminous literature on Marx’s of socially necessary labour time, none of which so much as mentions Godwin or The Source and Remedy. Няма промяна в данните за контакт с Post One: по имейл [email protected] и в контактната форма на сайта Може да се свързвате с компанията и на национален номер 40, на цената на 1 градски разговор или на мобилен. Use Blackboard Mobile Learn with PostOne. Watch the video to learn more PostOne. And learn how to use Blackboard Mobile Learn.
Postone and Class Theory