Marx's Dialectics of Value and Knowledge
Brenner's ‘The Economics of Global Turbulence’ is a review of the world economy in the second half of the 20th century and its momentous changes. It deals with a wide range of issues and developments and is supported by a wealth of statistical and historical material. At the same time, it debunks many of the myths upon which recent (economic) history has been written. Perhaps even more importantly, it seeks the causes of crises in the laws of motion of capital itself (a point made from a different perspective by this review as well).
Chris Arthur's approach aims at a systematic re-ordering of Marx's categories. This article argues that his approach is actually a different ordering of different categories that are positioned within a specific theoretical whole, a Hegelian re-interpretation of Marx and especially of abstract labour, which distances itself from Marx. While the debate has focused mainly on the philosophical aspects of Arthur's work, its economic features have not been the object of a systematic analysis. Yet, a full assessment of the 'New Dialectics' should include explicitly a systematic internal critique of its economic dimensions. The aim of this article is to assess the internal consistency of the economic ramifications of the 'New Dialectics'. The focus is on the notions of abstract labour, concrete labour, and exploitation. Arthur's faithfulness to Marx, or correspondence to Marx's quotations, is not the criterion used to assess the 'New Dialectics'. Rather, the criterion is whether it (a) discovers logical inconsistencies in Capital and (b) is itself free from inconsistencies. The answer is negative in both cases.