Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy: On Subversion and Negative Reason (Critical Theory and Contemporary Society)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Subversive thought is none other than the cunning of reason when confronted with a social reality in which the poor and miserable are required to sustain the illusion of fictitious wealth. Yet, this subsidy is absolutely necessary in existing society, to prevent its implosion. The critique of political economy is a thoroughly subversive business. It rejects the appearance of economic reality as a natural thing, argues that economy has not independent existence, expounds economy as political economy, and rejects as conformist rebellion those anti-capitalist perspectives that derive their rationality from the existing conceptuality of society. Subversion focuses on human conditions. Its critical subject is society unaware of itself. This book develops Marx's critique of political economy as negative theory of society. It does not conform to the patterns of the world and demands that society rids itself of all the muck of ages and founds itself anew.
Form (London 1991). 50 According to Harvey, ‘we can only do as nature does’. David Harvey, ‘History versus Theory: A Commentary of Marx’s Method in Capital ’, Historical Materialism, vol. 20, no. 2 (2012), p. 13. 51 Wolfgang Fritz Haug, Vorlesungen zur Einführung ins ‘Kapital’ (Hamburg 2005), p. 108. 52 Haug, Vorlesungen zur Einführung, p. 96. 53 Postone, Time, Labour and Social Domination (Cambridge 1996), p. 9. See also Simon Clarke, ‘Althusserian Marxism’, in ed. Simon Clarke, Terry
specific attempt to overcome the capitalist crisis of over-accumulation but that it has in fact become the dominant form of accumulation.4 Accumulation by dispossession appears not only at capitalism’s periphery as a means of developing the capitalist social relations but also at its centre. In his view, accumulation by dispossession ranges from those processes of expropriation that Marx identified as the violent separation of the producers from their means of production and subsistence to, for
argued in Chapter 3, rather than offering a critique of the fetishism of commodities, articulates the fetish in theoretical form. The capitalist economic categories do not have a logical beginning, nor do they have an anthropological foundation in Man as a ‘species being’. Rather, ‘economic categories . . . bear an historical imprint’, and their logical presentation amounts thus to a presentation of categories that bear the stamp of history.65 That is, Marx’s caution about the merits of
34–5. 20 Guido Starosta, ‘The Commodity-form and the Dialectical Method’, Science and Society, vol. 72, no. 3 (2008), p. 31. 21 Itoh, Basic Theory, p. 114. 22 Itoh, Basic Theory, p. 121. 23 Wolfgang Fritz Haug, Vorlesungen zur Einführung ins ‘Kapital’ (Hamburg 2005), p. 108. Haug’s biological definition of abstract labour as sugarburning is apt, to the point and simple in its nature. See also Guglielmo Carchedi, ‘The Fallacies of “New Dialectics” and Value-Form Theory’, Historical
capitalist tries to preserve capital personified by forcing the producers of surplus value towards greater productive effort, converting realized profits back into production to extract surplus value on an expanding scale in an effort at withstanding competitive pressures. Each individual capitalist seeks to prevent devaluation by extracting more surplus value, each trying to realize the products of labour as a value-valid expenditure of social labour, and attempts to do so in the face of