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Frank Engster

The Blind Spot in Sohn-Rethel and in Marxist Critique: The Technique of Measurement


Sohn-Rethel construed Marx’s value-form analysis as an empirical exchange of commodities and held that this empirical exchange performs a "real abstraction". In this way, he labored under the very semblance that money engenders at the surface of society. This semblance can be rendered transparent by, on the one hand, explaining value in terms of capitalist valorization rather than as a product of abstraction, and on the other hand by developing money as the measure and as the capitalist form of this valorization, rather than as a means of exchange. I want to show how this technique of measurement constitutes both a first and a second nature by quantifying relations, forcing the identity of nature and of our society to appear by magnitudes decisive for the very same reproduction of nature and society.

Frank Engster wrote his PhD thesis on the subject of time, money and measure. His areas of interest lie in the different - (post-)operaist, (post-)structuralist, form-analytic, (queer-)feminist etc. - readings of Marx’s critique of the political economy and especially in money as a technique and its connection with measurement, quantification, time and (natural) science.

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