[OPE-L:2667] Re: slaves and value

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Date: Sat Apr 01 2000 - 15:44:59 EST

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Re Rakesh's [OPE-L:2666]:

> I am arguing that the nature of the relation between capital and
> living labor cannot be determined in the market.

The relation between capital and living labor is determined in the spheres
of production *and* circulation. This is a consequence of the importance
of the category of labour power (as a commodity) to understanding the
social relations associated with capitalism.

Perhaps it would be easier for you to understand how you can not divorce
the "market" from the class relationship if you were to consider a
*circuit of capital*.


    M - C ... P ... C' - M' (the circuit of money capital)

    P ... C' - M' - C ... P (the circuit of productive capital)

    C' - M' - C ... P ... C' (the circuit of commodity capital)

Now, can you tell me how we are to make any sense out of this if we define
class relationships without reference to what happens in the sphere of
production *and* circulation? In particular, how is the reproduction of
capitalism possible without the generalization of wage-labor? It is the
specificity of how capitalist reproduction takes place that requires that
labour power be sold on the market in exchange for a wage. This means
generalized wage-labour, not slave labor.

I am fascinated by this attempt to downplay what happens on the market. I
think it is a trans-historical focus on the "primacy of production" that
has led many Marxists to downplay the role of money and demand, for
example. No wonder there has been so little research in those areas by
Marxists prior to the most recent generations of Marxist scholars who have
re-discovered the many ways in which the category of money is central to
understanding capitalism.

While you have said that you are not ignoring the circulation process, it
seems as though you continue to object to referring to the market in
regard to what determines the relationship between capital and the specific
form of labour associated with this mode of production. Yet, that
relationship, and the process of the reproduction of capital, can _only_
be comprehended once we understand the unity of the processes of
production and circulation under capitalism.

In solidarity, Jerry

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