Textual exegesis is used to show that Marx's concept of social labor is transhistorical, referring to a collective activity of humans as a species. The collective nature of labor is suspended in capitalist production because of the anarchic character of market relations. But the suspension is skin deep: The sociality of labor asserts itself in a mediated manner through the alienated empowerment of goods with value. This is commodity fetishism, which vanishes when relations of production become actually collective—matching the transhistorical essence of labor. Marx's concept of social labor is adjudged inadequate. Jt amounts to asserting that the actions of agents could be ex ante calculated according to a global rationality. In this respect, Marx's concept of social labor is reminiscent of the equally deficient notion of perfect competition in mainstream neoclassical economics.
|Number of pages||27|
|Journal||Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 1990|