From: cyrilsmith- at (Mr C Smith)

Subject: Re: Tony Smith

Dear Robert,

I am not 'dismissing' the work of Tony Smith. I just don't agree with his view of the relation between Marx and Hegel. If you do get hold of the contribution I mentioned, 'Hegel, Economics and Marx's Capital', you will see that I devoted most of it to a discussion of three of T S's works: 'The Logic of Marx's Capital', 'Dialectical Social Theory' and 'Marx's Capital and Hegelian Dialectical Logic'. I certainly would not attempt to present my criticisms in a short message, but let me try to explain my general idea about 'application'.

One aspect of the separation of intellectual and 'manual' labour is the conception that logical method can be set out independently of any particular objects it describes. Aristotle and Hegel each tries to do something different from this. Hegel's account of Logic, in particular, aims to trace the development of the categories, as forms which are simultaneously logical and ontological.

Capital, is not a book about 'economics', but a critique of political economy. Through his 'critical exposition of the categories of political economy', Marx demonstrates how the forms of bourgeois society conflict with truly human content. The clear analogies between the categories of Capital and the categories of Hegel's Logic are pointers to the inhumanity of these forms. Money and capital are social powers which destroy the lives of those who are in their grip. 'We are ruled by abstractions' (Grundrisse). Hegel is unable to criticise political economy, because he thinks private property is the essence of the human individual. So he can only see humanity within these powers. For instance, compare the analysis of money in the Philosophy of Right with that of Chapter 3 of Capital. (Of course, that is not all he knows. Look at the marvellous satire in the Phenomenology on 'The Animal Kingdom of the Spirit'. Also the remarks about the hostility of bourgeois society to Art in the Aesthetics.)

I feel strongly that to merely see the relationship in terms of the 'application' of Hegel's dialectic to economics is to miss the point, both of Hegel and Marx.

If you do look at the article I mentioned, I should be pleased to hear your criticisms.

Keep the argument going, please.