What’s in a word…

by Jehu

I slightly altered Postone’s text here to strip away the abstract-ness of the categories of analysis he employs in order to uncover the real sense of his discussion. In particular, I replaced the term, value, with the term, wages, to see what impact this has on his meaning.

Is this valid? I cannot say for sure, but it does have a remarkable resonance as a guide to strategy.

Postone:

To claim, as Marx does, that value is historically specific to capitalism is to claim not only that non-capitalist societies were not structured by value, but also that a post-capitalist society would also not be based on value. This, in turn, entails showing that the secular tendency of capital’s development is to render value increasingly anachronistic.

Restated:

To claim, as Marx does, that wages are historically specific to capitalism is to claim not only that non-capitalist societies were not structured by wages, but also that a post-capitalist society would also not be based on wages. This, in turn, entails showing that the secular tendency of capital’s development is to render wages increasingly anachronistic.

If I am reading Postone correctly, then, there is no way that a post-capitalist society can tolerate wages or wage labor in any form. Abolition of capitalism immediately requires abolition of wages and wage labor. Nothing short of this will work for us.