Thursdays from 10 December 2020, skipping 24 December, 31 December, and 7 January. Restarting in 2021 on 14 January 2021. It's possible to join in from 14 January, since the two first sessions (on the "Introduction" and on "Bastiat-Carey") are slightly detached from the bulk of the Grundrisse.
Sign up on Eventbrite here
Register on Zoom here
Study group blog here
References to the Grundrisse are given both to the "Analytical Contents List" and to the page numbers of the Penguin edition (Nicolaus translation). The page references to the McLellan book of excerpts are to the Paladin edition, 1973. That very different quantities of reading are assigned for each section is deliberate.
Section 1: Introduction
pp.83-111 - "Introduction (Notebook M)"
McLellan excerpt 1, p.26ff.
The method of inquiry and the method of presentation. What do historical materialism, the primacy of the mode of production as a determinant, and dialectics mean? The arts and material development (pp.109-11). (In this connection it may be useful also to look at Marx's short 1873 Afterword to Capital volume 1, and his even shorter Preface to "A Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy", the other texts where Marx said he was discussing methodology).
Section 2: Bastiat and Carey
pp.883-893 - "Bastiat and Carey"
McLellan excerpt 2, p.58ff.
In the 17 December 2020 discussion we referred to Marx's Speech on the Question of Free Trade. That is posted here.
Free-trading and protectionism. Bastiat and Carey.
Section 3: "Free credit" and Proudhonist socialism
No excerpts included in McLellan.
Critique of Proudhonist socialism as represented by Darimon. "The foolishness of those socialists (namely the French, who want to depict socialism as the realisation of the ideals of bourgeois society articulated by the French revolution) who demonstrate that exchange and exchange value etc. are originally (in time) or essentially (in their adequate form) a system of universal freedom and equality, but that they have been perverted by money, capital, etc..."
Section 4: "Labour-money"
Sections of the Chapter on Money from "Value and price" through to "Distinction between planned distribution of labour time and measurement of exchange values by labour time"
McLellan excerpt 3, p.70ff; 4, p.76ff; 5, p.81ff; 6, p.86ff.
Critique of those socialists who advocated that workers should be guaranteed the full fruits of their labour by being paid in "labour-money" (money representing so many hours of labour rather than so many dollars), and then being able to buy goods and services representing exactly as many hours. "This demand can be satisfied only under circumstances where it can no longer be raised".
Section 5: Money becomes the "real community"
Sections of the Chapter on Money from "Distinction between planned distribution of labour time and measurement of exchange values by labour time" through to the end
No excerpts in McLellan.
Money as the "god among commodities" and the "real community" of capitalist society. "Wage labour on one side, capital on the other, are therefore only other forms of developed exchange value and of money". Accounting money and hard cash. Circulation and the other functions of money. Crises.
Section 6: From money to capital
Sections of the Chapter on Capital from "Nothing is expressed...." through to "Product and capital. Value and capital. Proudhon"
McLellan excerpt 7, p.89ff.
What is capital? The difference between a trading economy and capitalist production.
Section 7: Capital and labour
Sections of the Chapter on Capital from "Capital and labour. Exchange value and use value for exchange value" through to "The two different processes"
Section 8: More on capital and labour
Sections of the Chapter on Capital from "Capital and modern landed property" through to "Theories of surplus value (Ricardo...)"
McLellan: Excerpt 8, p.89ff (=pp.278-9)
Excerpt 9, p.93ff (=pp.304-310)
Excerpt 10, p.100ff (=pp.325-326)
Excerpt 11, p.102ff (=pp.331-2)
Section 9: Labour productivity and surplus value: "realising" surplus value
Sections of of the Chapter on Capital from "Surplus value and productive force..." through to "The determination of value and of prices"
McLellan: Excerpt 12, p.104ff (=pp.359-364)
Excerpt 13, p.111ff (=pp.409-410)
Excerpt 14, p.113ff (=pp.415-6)
Section 10: How capital reproduces capitalism
Sections of the Chapter on Capital from "The determination of value and of prices" through to "Chief result of the production and realisation process"
Excerpt 15, p.115ff (=pp.450-6)
Excerpt 16, p.122ff (=pp.456-8)
Excerpt 18, p.139ff (=pp.487-8)
How capital becomes productive. How the exchange-relation between the capitalist and the worker, formally free and equal, is in fact a relation of exploitation. "Labour is absolute poverty as object, on one side, and is, on the other side, the general possibility of wealth as subject and as activity... Instead of... considering the worker to owe a debt to capital for the fact that he is alive at all, and can repeat certain life processes every day... these whitewashing sycophants of bourgeois economics should rather have fixed their attention on the fact that, after constant repeated labour, [the worker] always has only his living, direct labour itself to exchange..."
"Capital is productive, i.e. an essential relation for the development of the social productive forces... Those who demonstrate that the productive force ascribed to capital is a displacement, a transposition of the productive force of labour, forget precisely that capital itself is essentially this displacement, this transposition, and that wage labour as such presupposes capital... The demand that wage labour be continued but capital suspended is self-contradictory".
The difference, however, between capitalist and pre-capitalist exploitation: "The sphere of [the worker's] consumption is not qualitatively restricted, only quantitatively. This distinguishes him from the slave, serf, etc.... [The] essential civilising moment... on which the historic justification, but also the contemporary power of capital rests..."
The "great civilising influence of capital; its production of a stage of society in comparison to which all earlier ones appear as mere local developments of humanity and as nature-idolatry"; and simultaneously its limitedness, its propensity to crises.
"Capital in general, as distinct from the particular real capitals, is itself a real existence".
Section 11: Pre-capitalist formations and capitalism (pages 459-514); section 12: Turnover, transport, utilities, "positing" (p.514-533)
Sections of the Chapter on Capital from the heading "Original Accumulation of Capital" through to "Transport to market...", plus some of the final pages of section 3 of the Chapter on Capital ("Capital as Fructiferous"), plus the section near the end entitled "Value"
McLellan excerpt 17, p.125ff (=pp.459-471)
The historical emergence of wage-labour from pre-capitalist trading economies. The distinction between capitalist wage-labour and e.g. medieval day-labourer relations.
Capital, circulation, public works, and privatisation. "The separation of public works from the state, and their migration into the domain of the works undertaken by capital itself, indicates the degree to which the real community has constituted itself in the form of capital".
Section 13: the universalising tendency of capital; labour and labour-power; labour in capitalism and in the future
From the heading "Credit, the temporal moment of circulation" in the Chapter on Capital through to "Influence of fixed capital on the total turnover time of capital"
McLellan excerpt 19, p.141ff (=pp.539-542)
Excerpt 20, p.145ff (=pp.610-4)
Excerpt 21, p.150ff (=pp.649-652)
Section 14: General intellect
pp.690-743 (especially 701-712)
From the heading "Fixed capital. Means of labour. Machine" in the Chapter on Capital through to the end of "section 2" of the Chapter on Capital
Excerpt 22, p.154ff (=pp.692-704)
Excerpt 23, p.164ff (=pp.704-6)
Excerpt 24, p.167ff (=pp.708-711)
Excerpt 25, p.171ff (=pp.711-2)
Three questions arising from pages 690-743: 1. Whose is "the general intellect"? 2. Increasing alienation as a revolutionary force? 3. Who or what "breaks down" capitalism?
Section 15: "Capital as fructiferous". Tendency of rate of profit to fall
From the start of section 3 of the Chapter on Capital through to the end (other than the sections on Value and on Bastiat and Carey studied already)
Excerpt 27, p.176ff (=pp.748-750)
Excerpt 26, p.173ff (=pp.831-833)
"Capital as fructiferous". Tendency of rate of profit to fall. Interest and profit. Money and precious metals. Alienation.