Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume 1
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Representing Capital, Fredric Jameson’s first book-length engagement with Marx’s magnum opus, is a unique work of scholarship that records the progression of Marx’s thought as if it were a musical score. The textual landscape that emerges is the setting for paradoxes and contradictions that struggle toward resolution, giving rise to new antinomies and a new forward movement. These immense segments overlap each other to combine and develop on new levels in the same way that capital itself does, stumbling against obstacles that it overcomes by progressive expansions, which are in themselves so many leaps into the unknown.
of God” (143). It would be pleasant, but laborious, to trace this new version of the dialectic of the One and the Many back into Feuerbach’s seminal analysis of God as the projection and hypostasis of human productive power; but it is equally clear that the end term of this chapter—the figural flourish which assimilates le président de Brosses’ concept of fetishism to the formal ideality of those not so physical objects called commodities—is also of a religious, if pre-theological and animist,
transformations are effected, beginning with the passage already quoted about the “conscious representatives.” “Conscious” here means, I think, not self-conscious spokespeople for the segments of the exchange process they “represent,” but rather simply human or living correlatives of what are impersonal processes normally thought of in terms of things (the commodities). This possible misunderstanding accounts for Marx’s substitution, in Capital, of a terminology of “bearers” or Träger: a most
non-West in our time, the debate about Europe’s historical precedence has been renewed, and the preponderance of discussions of weapons and armaments points to the ideological difficulties in this line of approach. For from the outset Marx himself appealed to an extra-economic explanation, namely the violence with which gold and silver were plundered and the “natives” forced to labor. Yet our own situation reminds us, if it were necessary, that “violence” is an ideological category, which is
one of the methods of adding to the efficiency of production, but as the only method of producing fully developed human beings. (614) This is truly a changing of the valences of the social system: not only is the terrifying space of imprisonment of industrial wage labor transformed into the crystal palace of human development, but that very division of labor which made industrial workers into cripples and monsters now returns them to the expansive perspectives of “cooperation” and of Marx’s
(roughly 1950–1973) depended not only on a world war and an enormous uptick in state spending, but also on an historically unprecedented transfer of population from agriculture to industry. Agricultural populations proved to be a potent weapon in the quest for “modernization”, since they provided a source of cheap labour for a new wave of industrialisation. In 1950, 23 percent of the German workforce was employed in agriculture, in France 31, in Italy 44 and in Japan 49 percent—by 2000, all had