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 Post subject: [WIP] Das Kapital through visual depictions.
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:57 am 
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Here I'm going to post various images I've created along with accompanying text. The intention is to represent visually some of the content of the various volumes of Capital. I appreciate any and all feedback regarding the accuracy of my work along with any suggestions for things to represent visually, or whether or not such an effort is even worthwhile/useful. I plan to have increasingly larger and more complex pictures as I attempt to depict the production process as a whole from various perspectives etc.

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A commodity presents itself as an object which has "two sides" as it were. The first side of the commodity is characterized by two main things. It is a useful thing, that is, it has a use-value, and it has physical properties, that is, it is governed by physical laws. The second side of the commodity is also characterized by two main things. It is an exchangeable thing, which is to say that it has an exchange-value, and it has circulation properties, which is to say that it is governed by circulation laws.

These two faces exist within the same commodity, but what cause can we attribute to each of these sides of the commodity?

Image

The labour process gives rise to these two sides of a commodity by having two sides of its own. On the one hand we have concrete labour which is the carefully directed labour intended to make a specific product. If you want to make a horseshoe you must perform quite specific definite actions. On the other hand we have abstract labour which is any form of labour that creates a useful object. In this way the actions of the abstract labourer are quite vague. So long as these actions create an object of use, these actions will produce value. How much value is produced depends upon the amount of abstract labour represented by any given commodity. This quantity is determined by the amount of time spent labouring.

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 Post subject: Re: [WIP] Das Kapital through visual depictions.
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:03 pm 
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Broletariat wrote:
In this way the actions of the abstract labourer are quite vague


Not vague at all. The "actions" are subsumed, so to speak, by the relation; that labor has no use, no value, for the laborer other than its value in exchange for the means of subsistence or the equivalent thereof. Abstract labor is the social condition of labor power as a commodity, both value and value-producing-- and as a consequence has a "universal" but contingent identity with, not its products, but its measure, time


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 Post subject: Re: [WIP] Das Kapital through visual depictions.
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:54 pm 
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"Broletariat's ABCs: Next time won't you revolt with me?"

Diggin' it lmao.

But for real, pedagogically this is an excellent idea, and given that we live in the 21st century this is totally a worthwhile direction to take. Perhaps even as a video series. Would recommend doing text first tho cause transcripts, then recording is just a matter of derping into a microphone (doesn't even have to be you if you're unable/don't want to. I do have a mic these days, just sayin'). I like how the first picture illustrates the nature of commodities in the split between use-value and exchange-value btw, very tastefully done.

The second one however could perhaps do with creating a concrete definition of value before using the term value to describe how abstract labor creates it. I know you defined it in the text, but to really make it abundantly obvious I think a simple label that says "use-value" and "exchange-value" above the two sides as headings would help.

Making this as concrete as possible for the average person tho in the modern day is a good idea, if that's your audience at least. Also, be careful not to make images too complex so that the meaning is lost either later down the road. I think using the most concise language possible while using conventional speech is crucial, so as not to leave ambiguities but also not to lose people with lofty words and sentence structures where simple ones would suffice. This might not be a problem for the well-read folks of redmarx, but for people like me concise and clear are better always imo. Also avoid language that really doesn't add any further clarification, like "as it were" (of course this is a stylistic choice, but I think the point has already been made before you used it, at least in the context of where you used it in the text). Using synonyms is a good idea too so that it connects ideas better. That way you're not repeating the same word over and over with the risk of alientating readers unfamiliar with the word, or who simply need more language to put what you mean into context. i.e. labor = work = effort. If you want a word to have a very specific definition, then define it before use always but even then I still recommend reiteration of a point with different language (while being careful not to needlessly repeat yourself either). This only matters if you care about an audience outside of redmarx tho I guess, but really that's your call. I've taken the liberty to edit a passage to give an example of how I think you could make what you're trying to say clearer.

Broletariat wrote:
The labour process gives rise to these two sides of a commodity by having two sides of its own. On the one hand we have concrete labour which is [s]the carefully directed labour[/s] a conscious effort intended to make a specific product. If you want to make a horseshoe you must perform [s]quite[/s] specific [s]definite[/s] actions in the real world. On the other hand we have abstract labour which is any form of [s]labour[/s] work in general/generally that creates a useful object. In this way the actions of the abstract labourer are quite [s]vague[/s] (unsure how to edit this, but are you trying to say that "dead capital" embodies abstract labor more or less? Might just wanna rewrite all together cause this leaves me more confused than anything imo). So long as these actions create [s]an object of use[/s] a useful object, these actions [s]will[/s] produce value. How much value is produced depends upon the amount of [s]abstract labour represented in any given commodity. This quantity is determined by the amount of time spent labouring.[/s] time necessary to make a commodity


My thought process: there's a heavy usage of labour here, sometimes in contexts that would be read somewhat awkwardly in todays speech and also kinda abstract in general without offering enough concrete clarification imo. While you certainly shouldn't throw out every instance, and definitely should define it as it's a huge part of understanding marx's arguments, I definitely think that it's more useful to use concrete language throughout. Also, if you're using more than one modifier that essentially means the same thing (specific = definite), just throw them all out until you have the bare essentials of what you need to get the point across. Also, I recommend against using words like quite. Same goes for very (which I didn't see), or words that really don't add any actual meaning, but simply fill up space unless you're REALLY trying to add emphasis.

Keep in mind this is my interpretation of what you're trying to say to me, so I may have picked the wrong words where you meant to say something else, but this is simply what I got out of reading your text which should reflect how well or not you got these concepts across overall, not to speak of my own tardedness.

It feels like I'm in literacy in teaching all over again lmao, but I think you've got a good thing going here tbh. Hopefully you find this all useful and understand where I'm coming from, otherwise I look forward to more.

Not sure how to do strike through tags, but that's what I'm trying to do with the [s]'s


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