Grundrisse: Notebook IV – Keeping Focus


Yesterday, I began reading Notebook IV of Marx’s Grundrisse.  Notebook IV contains Marx’s notes from Mid-December 1857 – 22 January 1858.  This notebook contains the conclusion to Section I of the Chapter on Capital entitled:  “The Production Process of Capital.”  This section of the chapter contained plenty of mathematical examples on how production creates capital.  Some areas I was able to understand, while others left me scratching my head in confusion.  Some of them I had to re-read to make sure I completely understood what was going on.

I must say, the mathematical aspects of this particular notebook have challenged my focus and my determination to keep moving forward with my reading.  There have also been an increasing number of references to other political economists of the era.  When Marx references those economists and some of their theories, I’m left scratching my head because he hasn’t detailed these theories in his notebooks.  I feel, at times, that I’m missing something because I haven’t read some of these other economic theories.  Sure, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations can easily be found today, whereas I’m uncertain of Proudhon’s, etc.

While I haven’t been exposed to all the theories that Marx is disputing, I feel that I am understanding what he theories are, even if they are in such a rough form currently.  What I’m certainly hoping for is that starting with the first volume of Capital, I will see the evolution of Marx’s thinking in these matters, and how much more solid they are.  I’m also expecting these arguments to be better organized and spelled out so that I can keep track, none of this changing horses in midstream nonsense.  Because if the style of writing remains the same, I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue my focus with this challenge without some serious breaks in between readings.

However, I will say, I definitely knew it wasn’t going to be easy tackling this particular work, nor do I expect a free pass in Capital.  It’s every bit as challenging as I was expecting, and then some.

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About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

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