Reading Capital With Comrades podcast

#10: REPRODUCTION (Ch. 23-24)

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Our tenth episode marks a transition from examining the production of capital on an individual scale to capitalism as a totality that continually reproduces and expands. We begin with the introduction to Part 7 of the book (the only part that has one), where Marx defines the circulation of capital and articulates the assumptions he makes in the following 3 chapters. Then in chapter 23, we define simple reproduction, a logical schema Marx uses to set the the stage for the next two chapters on reproduction on an expanding scale. Simple reproduction allows us to see that the reproduction of capital is the reproduction of the class relation--of the command of capital over labor--and that it is the working class that reproduces the totality of capital. Next, we return to Marx’s concept of productive labor in light of this analysis, because here Marx shows that workers--even those who are unemployed or engaged in non-waged forms of work--are still crucial to reproducing capitalism. With chapter 24, we move from simple reproduction to reproduction on an expanding scale--or the accumulation of capital--where Marx corrects some erroneous assumptions of bourgeois political economy, attends to the relationship between economic production, the legal system, and ideology, and explains how the logic of capital requires the constant revolutionizing of the means of production. We again draw out his mention of communism and consider its relationship to his earlier remarks.

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