Abstract

Uno Kōzō (1897–1977) was Japan’s foremost Marxian economist. His critique of Marx’s method in Capital, especially regarding the ‘premature’ introduction of value-form analysis in Volume I, motivated him to rewrite all three volumes of Capital in his book The Principles of Political Economy (–2).

Notwithstanding Uno’s increasing popularity in international Marx research, I will present a critical paper that looks at a fundamental misunderstanding in Uno’s reading of the value form. In what is one of the most significant discussions of the value form in postwar Japan, Uno argues that ‘value’ and money as its ‘bearer’ cannot be understood in abstraction from personal interaction and human wants in commodity exchange. By drawing on the Japanese documents and supporting the view of Uno’s rival Kuruma Samezō (1893–1982), I want to show that it can, and how Marx understood the ‘law of value’ as a non-personal law of social domination.

In: Historical Materialism

After Transcritique: On Kant and Marx (2003), Karatani Kōjin’s new book The Structure of World History presents another engagement with Marxian theory from a ‘heterodox’ standpoint. In this book, rather than viewing The Structure of World History from the aspect of mode of production in the conventional ‘Marxist’ sense, Karatani shifts perspective to the modes of exchange. To this end, Karatani appropriates what he sees as Marx’s emphasis on ‘exchange’. In the present essay, by looking at the textual evidence, I critically evaluate whether this appropriation of Marx’s theory is justified. I furthermore contend that Karatani’s reading of the concepts of value, money, capital, and surplus-value from the standpoint of ‘exchange’ (i.e. circulation) arises from a grave misconstrual of Marx’s critical intent. Accordingly, Karatani neglects the critique of exploitation and the systematic production of poverty that informs the basic assumptions of Marx’s analysis of the capitalist mode of production.

In: Historical Materialism
In: Confronting Capital and Empire
In: Confronting Capital and Empire

Abstract

Even after the demise of the influential Uno School in the 1980s, Japanese economists have been continuously engaged in the categorial reconstruction of Marx’s Critique of Political Economy, especially the theory of value and money. Writing in the 1980s–2000s, authors of the ‘post-Uno School’, such as Ebitsuka Akira, Mukai Kimitoshi, Kataoka Kōji etc., broadened the value-theoretical views of Uno School orthodoxy to include, among others, the Neue Marx-Lektüre (predominantly H.-G. Backhaus and M. Heinrich) and the French economists C. Benetti and J. Cartelier.

This paper will confront the ‘post-Uno School’s’ reading of Marx’s theory of value, which poses the theories of value and money as unreconcilable, leading them to discard the theory of value in favour of a ‘monetary approach’. We show that the dismissal of value theory leads to an introduction of Baileyan and neoclassical elements into Marx’s theory, which we believe to be both theoretically and practically precarious.

In: Historical Materialism
In: Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic world
The contributions to Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic World reflect upon the problems implied in the received notions of philosophy in the respective scholarly literatures. They ask whether, and for what reasons, a text should be categorized as a philosophical text (or excluded from the canon of philosophy), and what this means for the concept of philosophy. The focus on texts and textual corpora is central because it makes authors expose their claims and arguments in direct relation to specific sources, and discourages generalized reflections on the characteristics of, for example, Japanese culture or the Indian mind. The volume demonstrates that close and historically informed readings are the sine qua non in discussing what philosophy is in Asia and the Islamic world, just as much as with regard to Western literature

Contributors are Yoko Arisaka, Wolfgang Behr, Thomas Fröhlich, Lisa Indraccolo, Paulus Kaufmann, Iso Kern, Ralf Müller, Gregor Paul, Lisa Raphals, Fabian Schäfer, Ori Sela, Rafael Suter, Christian Uhl, Viatcheslav Vetrov, Yvonne Schulz Zinda, and Nicholas Zufferey.
In: Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic world
In: Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic world
In: Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic world