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1 Hegel, Marx and the Comprehension of Capitalism

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Chapter Summary

The main features of Marx's concept of capital can perhaps best be introduced by contrasting Marx's position with non-Marxian perspectives. There are texts where Marx argues for the primacy of the drive to expand monetary circuits by simply appealing to Hegel's logical point that the very concept of a quantitative limit implies the concept of quantities beyond those limits. Approaching the question from the Hegel side, one consideration that should make us pause before accepting the standard picture of Hegel accepted by Marx, Postone and so many others is the content of the culminating section of Hegel's Logic, the 'Absolute Idea'. Marx reveals the social ontology of generalised commodity-production to be more complex, and more bizarre, than anything found in Hegelian social theory. In the Logic, Hegel developed a methodological framework progressing from simple and abstract determinations to progressively more complex and concrete levels of analysis.

Keywords: capitalism; generalised commodity-production; Hegelian social theory; Marx



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