[OPE-L:3274] Re: Gil's criticisms

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Sat May 20 2000 - 08:17:00 EDT

[ show plain text ]

For what it is worth, I think I completely agree with Fred's formulation
and don't understand Gil's and Ajit's objections. Gil's appears in
_Science and Science_ in a condensed (he tells me) but I haven't had an
opportunity to get it from our library. Ajit has been making his point for
years and frankly I still don't get it (in the sense that I cannot
reproduce to a third-party his argumentation). Perhaps it is connected to
Ajit's not being interested in what an author "meant" (i.e., Marx perhaps
"meant" what Fred states, but Ajit doesn't care). Perhaps my lack of
comprehension is connected to the first chapters not being my special area
of research. Not sure.

I don't have anything to add to what is being written, except to state
that I think Fred' formulation is consistent with Althusser's
understanding that Marx's theoretical object throughout _Capital_ is the
capitalist mode of production (probably Fred is not aware of his support
from Althusser).

Paul Z.

******************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

"Fred B. Moseley" <fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu> said, on 05/18/00 at 11:45 PM:

>This is a further reply to Gil's recent posts.

>1. Gil thinks that Marx is trying to prove in Part 2 that capitalist
>production (with wage-labor) is the only possible source of
>surplus-value. Thus, if Marx assumed capitalist production from the
>beginning as a "postulate", as I argue, then Marx's argument in Part 2 is
>"circular" or "ridiculous."

>2. The problem with Gil's criticism is that Marx is NOT trying to prove
>that capitalist production is the only possible source of
>surplus-value. Capitalist production is indeed assumed from the
>beginning. Or, perhaps a better way of putting it: Marx's theory is
>ABOUT capitalist production from the beginning; capitalist production is
>the historically specific OBJECT of Marx's theory. The concepts of
>Marx's theory (commodities, money, capital, surplus-value, etc.) all are
>defined specifically and solely in relation to capitalist production.
>Specifically, the surplus-value that Marx is trying to explain in Part 2
>and beyond is the surplus-value produced by capitalist production.

>Contrary to Gil, Marx is NOT trying to prove that capitalist production
>is the only possible source of surplus-value. This question is not
>addressed at all by Marx in these chapters. Rather, Marx was trying to
>prove that the only possible source of surplus-value WITHIN THE
>CAPITALIST MODE OF PRODUCTION is the purchase and consumption of
>labor-power. In this way, Marx demonstrated the INTRINSIC AND NECESSARY
>CONNECTION between the appropriation of surplus-value in capitalism and
>the existence of labor-power in capitalism. In other words, Marx
>demonstrated the NECESSITY of wage-labor in a capitalist economy on the
>basis of his fundamental value theory. Wage-labor is necessary in order
>to produce surplus-value.

>Gil says that such an argument is a "tautology". But it is not a
>tautology. It is a deduction. The conclusion (the necessity of
>labor-power) follows from the fundamental assumption of Marx's value
>theory (that value is produced by labor).

>No other economic theory is able to explain the necessity of wage-labor
>in a capitalist economy on the basis of its fundamental value theory. In
>neoclassical economics, the "labor market" is introduced as a "factor
>market" after the theory of "product markets". No explanation is given
>of the necessity of "labor" on the labor market. It is just taken as
>given. The existence of "labor" on the labor market is not explained in
>any way by the fundamental neoclassical value theory. Wage-labor is a
>contingent, not necessary, feature of capitalist economies.

>Therefore, Marx's demonstration of the necessity of wage-labor in a
>capitalist economy on the basis of his value theory in Part 2, far from
>being a failure as Gil says, is a significant achievement compared to all
>other economic theories.

>Therefore, I conclude that Gil's criticisms of Marx's logic in Part 2 are
>not valid. They are based on misunderstandings of what Marx was trying
>to accomplish in these chapters.

>In Chapter 5, Marx was not trying to prove that surplus-value must be
>explained on the basis of the exchange of equivalents; rather Marx was
>drawing out an important implication of the "previously derived law" of
>the exchange of equivalents - that surplus-value cannot arise from
>exchange alone (as a critique of the "profit through exchange" theories
>of his time).

>In Chapter 6, Marx was not trying to prove that capitalist production is
>the only possible source of surplus-value; rather Marx was demonstrating
>that the only possible source of surplus-value within the capitalist mode
>of production is the purchase and consumption of labor-power, thereby
>demonstrating the necessity of labor-power in a capitalist economy.

>Thus, Gil has attributed to Marx questions and tasks that are not Marx's
>own, and then criticizes Marx for failing to answer Gil's questions. NO
>FAIR !! In terms of Marx's own questions and tasks in these chapters,
>his logic is completely valid. Circulation by itself does not produce
>value. In order to appropriate surplus-value within capitalism,
>money-bags must purchase labor-power.

>I look forward to further discusssion.


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