[OPE-L:2473] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: the employment contract and capitalism

From: Prof. Ernesto Screpanti (screpanti@unisi.it)
Date: Thu Mar 02 2000 - 13:52:32 EST

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Riccardo wrote in [2457]
>>And we may answer that the entrepreneur needs to be 'heroic', since he
>>>is always pressed: (i) by the potential contestation from workers; (ii) by
>>>the competion of other capitals. Schumpeter sees only (ii) - though in
>>>Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy he comes very near to recognize (i).
>>>What is sure is that a capitalism with normal profits, equal in all
>>>sectors, and may be on a balanced growth path, is not Marx's.
>>Please note the difference in the level of abstraction. Throughout Capital,
>>vols I, II and the first part of vol III Marx remains at a very high level
>>of abstraction. For instance: the law of value holds (this means no
>>disequilibrium); surplus value = profit (this enables him to isolate the
>>production process as the locus of exploitation).
>>Interesting enough, techinal progress is investigated at this high level of
>>abstraction. Yet I dare say that the basic Marxian theory of exploitation
>>can be set out in an analytical context in which no technical progress is
>>assumed (only absolute surplus value is produced).
>Here, I must confess that my reading of Marx's abstraction is quite
>different. But, before saying something, what do you mean for "law of
>value"? As for the basic theory of exploitation, the general proposition by
>Marx is that exploitation is the lenghtening of living labour over and
>above (in excess of) necessary labour. This is true both for the extraction
>of absolute surplus value and for the extraction of relative surplus value.

I agree.

"Whatever may be the way in which the prices of different commodities are
first established or fixed in relation to one another, the law of value
governs prices and their movements. When the labour-time required for their
production falls, prices fall; and when it rises, prices rise" (Capital,
III, 277).

"Just as little is the law of value affected by the fact that the
equalization of profit [...] gives rise to governing average prices for
commodities that diverge from their individual values" (ib. 985).

In other words the law of value is the law that determines production prices
through competition. It serves to Marx to make sure that exploitation (at
the highest level of abstraction) does not occur in the market through
unequal exchange.



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