Fredric jameson – Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume One

April 2024 Forums General discussion Fredric jameson – Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume One

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    J Surman

    I’ve just read an interview with Fredric Jameson on Truthout:

    -about his book published 2011, ‘Representing Capital:A Reading of Volume One’. It sounds like it could be interesting, or the interview could be a ‘good sell’ maybe. As I don’t know Jameson’s work at all I wondered if anyone’s got anything to say about him or his book? Is it worth me ordering it or is there a copy at Head Office? Any input welcome, thanks.


    Don’t know about Fredrid Jameson or what he says.There are numerous guides to Capital out there, of the ones I’ve read Ben Fine’s and Alfredo Saad-Filho’s is probably the best: this unpublished guide by Simon Clarke is pretty good:


    I’d not heard of Frederic Jameson before but perhaps I should have since, apparently, he invented “postmodernism”. Since this is a load of old rubbish this suggests you should hold off buying the book until you get a further opinion from someone who knows more about him. If you want a literary approach to Capital there’s always Francis Wheen’s Das Kapital: A Biography (reviewed in the Socialist Standard, on this site at ).Judging by the interview (and of course it’s a good thing that Marx’s ideas should be being discussed), Jameson seems to be a bit of an “underconsumptionist” (see the thread on Andrew Kliman, who criticises this approach). Capital is not really “a book about unemployment” in the sense that it argues that capitalism’s tendency to replace living labour in the production process will eventually lead to its collapse because if fewer and fewer workers are being paid wages there’ll be fewer and fewer consumers to buy the products. This, incidentally, is an analysis of capitalism that is shared by Peter Joseph and the Zeitgeist movement.What it overlooks is that what drives capitalism is not consumer demand, but investment demand, ie investment with a view to profit and the re-investment of profit as more capital. If the “underconsumptionist” theory was right — and people were putting it forward in Marx’s day — capitalism should have collapsed a long time ago. The fact that it hasn’t shows there must be something wrong with the theory.

    J Surman

    Thanks for your comments. I think I was drawn into being enthusiastic about  the Jameson interview because, as you said, it’s good to see Marx being discussed, and it appeared to be a positive view.I have recently worked my way through David Harvey’s ‘A Companion to Marx’s Capital’ which he recommends reading together with ‘Capital’ so it’s a very time consuming commitment, and I can’t say i stuck to the original goal, however i did make a note that I must get back to it again some time! It would be more fruitful within a group, I’m sure – as the proposed sessions I recently read about soon to begin in London.Re Wheen, I’ll maybe get to him later as, thanks to DJP, I have more reading matter lined up on the subject. I have downloaded the ones he suggested and will be getting to them soon.

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