[OPE-L:3031] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re:starting points

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Sun May 07 2000 - 09:57:14 EDT

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Ajit Sinha <ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in> said, on 05/07/00 at 05:25 PM,
replying to Fred:

>The relevant theoretical point is that the concept of "capital" and "wage
>labor" are not part of the arguments in chapter one--the analysis is
>conducted independent of these concepts. Since you have given several
>textual evidence on the concept of capital, let me refresh your memory on
>the concept of commodity in chapter one by a long quote from early part
>of Chapter five. This is very important because it is here for the first
>time that the concepts of wage labor, and thus capital, are being
>developed. (By the way, Marx did not think or know that "surplus-value"
>were produced and appropriated in precapitalist systems. Surplus, of
>course, but not "surplus-value". He maintained a theoretical distinction
>between the two). Cheers, ajit sinha

First, a typo: Ajit's quote is from Chapter 6 on buying and selling of
labor power.

Anyway, if Fred is looking for dissenters from some "consensus" or other,
I dissent from

>> So, Gil is criticizing Marx for failing to do something that he did not
>> attempt: to prove that capital and surplus-value are possible only as a
>> result of wage-labor in capitalism. Capitalist production is assumed from
>> the very beginning and the object of Marx's analysis is to explain how
>> surplus-value is produced in capitalism, not to argue that surplus-value
>> can only be produced in capitalism. That would be a ridiculous argument,
>> that Marx knew was untrue. Marx was certainly aware of non-capitalist
>> modes of appropriating surplus-value (as Gil points out). But these
>> non-capitalist modes of production are irrelevant to Marx's theory of how
>> surplus-value is produced IN CAPITALISM.
>> I look forward to further discussion.
>> Comradely,
>> Fred

Value is a theoretical concept for the capitalist mode of production and
the concept itself arises from that mode. It is not to be transported to
other modes of production. Therefore, surplus value is not to be
transported to other modes of production. Thus, I find nothing ridiculous
in asserting in arguing "that surplus-value can only be produced in
capitalism". In this respect, I agree with Ajit.

However, more broadly, if Fred is arguing for an a-historicism of Marx's
theoretical categories (and moving away from an interpretations of the
type as Engels), then I can point to Althusser, *Reading Capital*, Chp. 5,
"Marxism is not a Historicism" (are you surprised, Fred?).

Paul Z.

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