From: "Robert and Margo Dresbach" <dresmaro- at>

Subject: Logic of Capital

Date: Sat, 8 Aug 1998


I am troubled by the replies I received from you and Cyril Smith regarding Tony Smith's The Logic of Marx's Capital. Granting that I did not adequately represent T. Smith's exposition of the relationship between the methodologies of Hegel on the one hand, and Marx on the other in my necessarily brief summary of Smith's thesis. Nonetheless, I am, troubled by your respective almost hostile dismissals of T. Smith's endeavors. It is not clear to me that Cyril Smith has read Tony Smith's The Logic of Marx's Capital. Nor does Cyril Smith cite any particular books or articles by T. Smith, or explain how T. Smith distorts or fails to comprehend the difference between Hegel's and Marx's dialectical methodologies as applied to the task of making intelligible the capitalist structure of social relations.

C. Smith appears to be troubled by the word "applied". "My attack". C. Smith writes, "is against the allegation that Marx 'applied' Hegel's dialectical logic to economics." For C. Smith's benefit, I cite the following excerpt taken from T. Smith's introduction, p. ix. "The importance of Hegel's Logic for an understanding of Capital has been stressed as long ago as an 1891 letter by Engels. But scholars thus far have examined sections from Capital in isolation. No one has established in detail [my emphasis] that Capital is a systematic theory of economic categories ordered according to a dialectical logic taken over from Hegel [I interpret this as having taken over a set of core concepts.]. Beginning with 'commodity' and 'value' at the start of Volume I and progressing step by step to the end of Volume III, I attempt to show precisely how Marx employed dialectical logic in the construction of his theory." Now T. Smith either got it right, or he did not. If not, I would like to know in detail why not!

I am not arguing that Tony Smith has an exclusive grasp of the truth of Marx's methodology in the writing of Capital. However, I believe Tony Smith should be given a respectful hearing. Based on the quality of the articles posted to your web page, I expected that quality of response. At this point, my sense is that my initial perception may have been in error. Please forward to Cyril Smith.