[OPE-L:3242] starting points

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Wed May 17 2000 - 10:35:35 EDT

[ show plain text ]

Re: Ajit's 3240
>Gil, as you know I don't have much at stake here. My position is that Marx's
>concept of exploitation can be explained prior to the introduction of the
>concept of value. The point I was trying to make is that one may try to draw a
>parallel with the Physiocrates here. For the Physiocrates there is only one
>kind of exchange that results into surplus production, and that is the
>exchange between humans and nature. Similary Marx could be arguing that there
>is only one exchange in the commodity producing system that could produce
>surplus. The question ultimately is the *production* of surplus and not
>unequal exchange. Cheers, ajit sinha

Ajit, Marx thought that it was precisely only through a theory of value
that exploitation in a commodified society could be understood--and he
makes this point not in parallel to but in contradistinction to the
Physiocrats. For example TSVI, p. 46:

In manufacture the workman is not generally seen directly producing either
his means of subsistence or the surplus in excess of his means of
subsistence. Th eprocess is mediated through purchase and sale, through the
various acts of circulation, and the analysis of value in general is
necessary for it to be understood. In agriculture [here Marx is referring
to agr in the time of the Physiocrats] it shows itself directly in the
surplus of use values produced over use values consumed by the labourer,
and can therefore be grasped without an analysis of value in general,
without a clear understanding of the nature of value. Thereofre also when
value is reduced to use value, and the latter to material substance in
general. Hence for the Physiocrats agricultural labor is the only labour
that *produces a surplus value*, and *rent* is the *only form of surplus
value* which they know." TSVI, p. 46

By the way, the confusions and contradictions which you think have isolated
in Marx's argument have been answered in Mattick Jr's, "Some Aspects of the
Value Price Problem" IJPE (vol 21, no4). I won't have time immediately to
submit my answer to your last post, but in my eventual reply I will draw
heavily from his interpretation. Will be out of town for a few days.

Yours, Rakesh

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed May 31 2000 - 00:00:10 EDT