[OPE-L:3192] Re: More in response to Gil

From: Gil Skillman (gskillman@mail.wesleyan.edu)
Date: Sun May 14 2000 - 16:50:05 EDT

[ show plain text ]

Allin writes:

>I don't want to respond to Gil's careful argument with slapdash
>polemic, so let me add this. If anyone believed that Marx's Chs
>1 - 5 of Vol. I established that the /only logically possible/
>basis of M-C-M' was the exploitation of propertyless
>wage-labourers on the basis of the value of labour-power being
>smaller than the value these labourers produce during the
>working day, then I accept that Gil's (and Roemer's) arguments
>ought to disabuse them of that idea. Only I'm willing to cut
>Marx a little slack, on the basis that he was presupposing a
>fair amount (along the lines of uncontroversial empirical fact)
>about the actual mode of production he was analysing.

Allin, for the sake of context, this comment: Although I'm arguing
something even stronger than you suggest, to the effect that Marx
establishes no valid connection whatsoever between the correspondence of
prices and values on one hand and the phenomenon of capitalist exploitation
on the other, I want to emphasize that *I'm* all for "cutting Marx a
little slack" too, but along different lines. The "other half" of my
chapter 5 critique is that Marx's *historically contingent* analysis of
capitalist exploitation, found in a body of work beginning with the
Grundrisse and extending through the Ec. Manuscript of 1861-63 and the
Resultate, provides the grounds for a coherent theory that anticipates
modern theoretical developments (including Roemer's, by the way). However,
I think that fully appreciating this alternative theory requires disabusing
oneself of the notion that price-value correspondence has any significant
connection, theoretical or otherwise, to the phenonenon of capitalist

A parting thought: I certainly grant that the predominance of capitalist
production is an uncontroversial empirical fact. But so are lots of other
things (average wage variations by level of education, for example) that
have no demonstrably substantive connection to the existence of capitalist


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed May 31 2000 - 00:00:09 EDT