Capital read by Moishe Postone: Alchemy or astrology?

Jacques Bidet

Table of Contents


Moishe Postone’s book Time, Work and Social Domination (Postone 1993), is meant to be a Hegelian interpretation of Marx’s Capital. Capital is the great subject that moves itself under the impulse of value. Its “movement” is related not to class relations, nor to the market, which is supposedly external to labor, but to the temporal constraint inherent in a dialectic proper to value, which chains everybody up in an infinite process of abstract labor. The reign of value destroys the concrete world of use values. And this until we become aware of the contradiction between what capitalist society is and what it “should be.” According to the author, such a statement, which interprets this work more from its rough draft, Grundrisse, than on the fifteen years of re-elaboration that followed, is built on the basis of confusions concerning the main Marxian concepts referred to: labor, domination, value, valorization, abstraction, and production.

JEL classification: B51


  • Postone
  • capital
  • value
  • dialectic
  • abstract labour
  • abstraction
  • surplus-value
  • domination