Attributing the abstract domination of capital to concrete forms is an undeveloped critique. An extract from Helmut Reichelt’s Marx’s Critique of Economic Categories (2007)
The essence of Adorno’s critical theory lies in the very fact that he understands the capitalist economy as an inverted reality in which individuals no longer ‘interact with one another’ on the market as rationally acting subjects, as the idea of the exchange economy suggests. Adorno criticised such a concept as ‘social nominalism’. Rather, they act as executors of constraints generated and reproduced by themselves, which are implemented in and through their conscious actions without, however, these being consciously accessible to them. Th is is what the strong concept of totality means, which should not to be confused with the mechanistic idea in which ‘everything is linked with everything else’ (Albert), or with the hermeneutic one that operates by ‘anticipating the interpretation of a connection of meaning’ (Habermas).
Totality is not a methodological postulate, but rather the concept of a real ‘becoming autonomous [Verselbständigung]’.
Totality . . . is pre-established for all individual subjects since they obey its ‘constraints’ even in themselves and even in their monadological constitution and here in particular, conceptualise totality. To this extent, totality is what is most real. Adorno is therefore vehemently against any levelling down of society to an intelligible coherence. He insists that society is both ‘intelligible and unintelligible.’
From the journal Historical Materialism 15 (2007) 3–52
‘When one examines the specific characteristics of the power attributed to the Jews by modern anti-Semitism—abstractness, intangibility, universality, mobility—it is striking that they are all characteristics of the value dimension of the social forms analyzed by Marx. Moreover, this dimension, like the supposed power of the Jews, does not appear as such, but always in the form of a material carrier, the commodity.’
Moishe Postone, Anti-semitism and National Socialism