[OPE-L:2353] Carpe diem!: LTV

From: Geert REUTEN (reuten@fee.uva.nl)
Date: Fri Feb 11 2000 - 23:11:29 EST

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In his 2346 Jerry wrote (replying to Nicky 2342)
>As I recall, in the previous discussion we came to the conclusion that
>Marx never said that he had a "labor theory of value" -- but neither did
>Ricardo or Smith. I.e. "LTV", just like "value theory of labor", are
>designations given to a theory not by Marx (or Ricardo, etc.) but by
>historians of economic thought -- both Marxist and non-Marxist.

I would like to know who came up with the term LTV. Was that revealed in
the 1996 OPE-L discussions? I would expect early Austrians, but perhaps
also early left-Ricardians.

Geert Reuten

 Thus, the
>question isn't whether Marx said that he advanced a LTV (he didn't).
>Rather, the question is how *we* can best interpret the meaning of Marx's
>conception of value. Thus, when you say "labor theory of value" what do
>you and others mean by that expression? And when you and others use the
>expression "value theory of labor" (following Elson), what is meant by
>that term that is different from LTV?
>I agree that part of this question concerns how we view Marx's perspective
>on value vis-a-vis classical political economy. Equally, though, it
>concerns how Marx's perspective on value was influenced not only by CPE
>but by Hegelianism, his task of critique, and his revolutionary
>2) In [OPE-L:2343] Ernesto wrote the first of what promises to be many
>exciting contributions to our list:
>> I would like to discuss the following:
>> "The employment contract as the fundamental institution of capitalism". I
>> am working on this subject since some years. The basic idea is that the
>> basic institutional condition for capitalist exploitation in production is
>> not the private property of the means of production but a contract whereby
>> the workers take an obbligation to obbey the capitalist in the labour
>> I consider this thesis a deepening and a correction of Marx's theory of
>> capitalism.
>> If somebody likes this proposal, I could send a chapter of my book (in
>> porogress) in which I focus on the employment contract.
>Well, I like the proposal. By all means, send us the chapter (but please
>send it not as an attachment but in text-readable, unencoded form).
>On the substance of what you say above, it seems to me that private
>ownership (and non-ownership) of the means of production and the contract
>agreed to by workers in the market for labour-power (the "labor market")
>are *necessarily* inter-related under capitalism. E.g. the compulsion to
>work for capital in exchange for a wage is necessarily linked to one
>aspect of "free labor" -- freedom from ownership of the means of
>production and therefore the "freedom" to be employed by capital and be
>exploited. This is reinforced by another "freedom" that makes itself
>known to workers both within the market for labour-power and the labour
>process -- the "freedom" to join the industrial reserve army and all that
>entails. This aspect of the "contract", i.e. that it can be voided at the
>discretion of capital, is essential to maintaining discipline in the
>labour process and compelling workers to work to a certain "standard" [of
>productivity] within the labour process.
>Where do we disagree?
>In solidarity, Jerry

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