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Book proposal: Marx’s Fetters and the Realm of Freedom: a remedial reading — part 2.3

Summary:
Inversion Marx stated repeatedly in the Grundrisse that capital inverts the relationship between necessary and superfluous labour time. Capital both creates disposable time and expropriates it in the form of surplus value, reversing the nature-imposed priority of necessity before superfluity and making the performance of necessary labour conditional on the production of surplus value. Marx’s analysis of this inversion bears unmistakeable traces of Ludwig Feuerbach’s critique in The Essence of Christianity of the inversion of collective humanity and the divine, which had so influenced the young Marx. The theme of inversion returns in the first chapter of Capital in the section on the fetishism of the commodity, where in the first sentence Marx comments on the commodity’s abundant

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 Inversion

Marx stated repeatedly in the Grundrisse that capital inverts the relationship between necessary and superfluous labour time. Capital both creates disposable time and expropriates it in the form of surplus value, reversing the nature-imposed priority of necessity before superfluity and making the performance of necessary labour conditional on the production of surplus value. Marx’s analysis of this inversion bears unmistakeable traces of Ludwig Feuerbach’s critique in The Essence of Christianity of the inversion of collective humanity and the divine, which had so influenced the young Marx. The theme of inversion returns in the first chapter of Capital in the section on the fetishism of the commodity, where in the first sentence Marx comments on the commodity’s abundant “theological niceties.” The table made of wood, “not only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to all other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas.” A couple of pages later: “In order, therefore, to find an analogy we must take flight into the misty realm of religion.”

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