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@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold I got my last three lectures to give in the next 31 hours, so goodbye!

But first...

With the exception of Chapter 10, The Working Day, Parts I- VI of Capital do not sing for me. Confused, and where not confused usually wrong. Part I makes Hegelian philosophical intellectual 1/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold moves to construct an argument for the labor theory of value, an argument which I do not see as valid. Part II makes the important point that capital is not a thing but rather a set of relationships or processes that generate a certain kind of economy with its patterns of 2/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold production, distribution, and dynamic evolution. But this seems obvious to me. Marx presents it with what seems to me to be a lot of fluff and mystification. Parts III-VI develop and use his analytical framework and, with the exception of chapter 10 on the working day, I find 3/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold the framework creaky, inadequate, and often misleading: labor theory of value, rates of surplus value, organic composition of capital, and unsolvable analytical problems of reduction and transformation. It is only in Part VII that the book begins to sing to me. 4/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold \Wealth speaks loudly, and influences the government to arrange things for the convenience of wealth—to keep wages low, and workers available.... Under capitalism, things are inverted: rather than people riding the economy to achieve their purposes, the economy—things—are in 5/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold the saddle, and riding humanity. What the workers produce then does not advance their interests, or make them happy. Instead, what the workers have produced somehow escapes from human control. It then imposes itself on people, and bosses them around. Note that it is not even 6/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold that the capitalists steal the freedom for themselves. Marx thinks that you ought to be a human being in control of your life. The things you make are things that help and assist you. But instead, somehow, under the rule of the bourgeoisie, the things you make take control.... 7/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold Capitalism is a system with its own logic of development that carries itself forward into the future, getting worse all the time because machinery is not a complement to but a substitute for labor. (Here, again, I think Marx has been betrayed by the labor theory of value.) 8/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold Workers who do not sacrifice their essential humanity to a hard, dehumanizing, and low-paying job find themselves and their families at deaths door. Capitalists who do not devote every moment to raising productivity, pushing down wages, and reinvesting their larger profits to 9/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold increase their scale of operations faster find themselves outcompeted. They wind up going bankrupt–and then their children join the working class proletariat. Thus, according to the principle that the purpose of a system is what it does, the purpose of the capitalist system 10/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold is maximum investment and capital accumulation. In Marx’s analytical framework, wealth, productivity, and misery all grow together....

Then he badly needs an editor. Part VIII is called "Primitive Accumulation". At the end of Part VII, Marx had completed his analysis of how 11/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold the purpose of capitalism-as-a-system was simply capital accumulation, which produced ever more productivity, wealth, and misery. The natural next step in Marx’s argument would be for him to lay out what he forecasts will bring this mad sorcerers-apprentice process to an end. 12/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold But that is not what we get. We jump back to the historical beginnings of the process of capitalist capital accumulation. It hammers home the difference between the myth that the capitalist tell themselves and others, and the reality with which the system came into being. 13/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold Great crimes were committed. And great was the role played by political corruption and the violent power of the state in birthing the system.... Capitalists and their ideologists write about how everybody is “free” in a capitalist economy: slavery and serfdom have both been 14/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold abolished, so that workers can go where they want, take the jobs they want, and so raise society’s productivity. Marx reacts with very heavy-handed snark. Yes, the ex-serf is no longer constrained by the web of obligations that constrained him under the feudal or the petty- 15/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold bourgeois mode of production. But by the same token that freedom from social position and social ties may well reduce his bargaining power when he goes to the labor market. Sociological constraints can keep you from doing better, but they can also keep you from being forced 16/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold to do worse. Moreover, that bargaining-power reduction is essential for the system’s operation, at least in Marx’s view....

Then—without a new part heading—Marx leaves the origin of capitalism behind, and begins analyze the consequence of increasing returns to scale: that 17/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold the larger the business, the higher its productivity. Increasing productivity with larger-scale production produces very large-scale firms and increasing accumulation, scale, and productivity will bring with it increasing immiserization 18/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold But the very fact that capitalist firms become larger and larger as the lot of the working class becomes worse and worse greatly reduces the relative difficulty of the ultimate transition: Moving to socialism should not be very difficult at all, because most economic activity 19/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold will, as capitalism approaches its end, take place not through markets but under the aegis of a few giant monopolistic highly-productive firms—Herbert Simon's green blobs. It was brutal to turn feudalism into capitalism by dissolving feudal ties and then separating people 20/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold from the lands and the business that they had some rights to. It will be easy to simply expropriate the stocks and bonds and nationalize a few giant companies. And so:

"With this... grows the revolt of the working class class constantly increasing in numbers, and trained, 20/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold united and organized by the very mechanism of the capitalist process of production. The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production which has flourished alongside and under it. The centralization of the means of production and the socialization of labour 22/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold reach a point at which they become incompatible with their capitalist integument..."

And then:

The New Jerusalem arrives, descending from heaven “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is 23/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: 24/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold for the former things are passed away...’”:

"This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated..." 25/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold That symphony in Parts VII and VIII is great—mad, but great; or maybe mad and great—if you can get students into it, if you can get them to feel the force of the shaft of the spear behind the spearpoint. But in my experience, making students slog through Parts I-VI is not the 26/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold best way to get them to feel the force of the shaft behind the spearpoint...

Cf.: on spearpoints, shafts, & making literature that has force: Jo Walton <…> @BluejoWalton 27/END
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold @BluejoWalton "There comes a point in writing, and it’s a spear-point, it’s very small and sharp but because it’s backed by the length and weight of a whole spear and a whole strong person pushing it, it’s a point that goes in a long way. Spearpoints need all that behind them, or they don’t 1/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold @BluejoWalton pack their punch in the same way. Examples are difficult to give because spear-points by their nature require their context, and spoilers. They tend to be moments of poignancy and realization. When Duncan picks the branches when passing through trees, he’s just getting a 2/
@postdiscipline @matthoboken @gerardrolanducb @snaidunl @MarxinHell @n_hold @BluejoWalton disguise, but we the audience suddenly understand how Birnam Wood shall come to Dunsinane." @BluejoWalton 3/END
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