[OPE-L:3307] Re: Re: starting points [can surplus value be measured?]

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Date: Wed May 24 2000 - 10:06:57 EDT

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On Wed, 24 May 2000, Paul Zarembka wrote:

> Mattick Jr is not the first to argue the problem of
> measuring value. Althusser, "Crisis of Marxism", 1978,
> poses the following question:
> "When you read Section 1 of Book 1 of *Capital*, you find a
> theoretical presentation of surplus value: it is an
> arithmetical presentation, in which surplus value is
> *calculable*, defined by the difference (in value) between
> the value produced by labor power on the one hand, and the
> value of the commodities necessary for the reproduction of
> this same labor pwoer (wages) on the other. And in this
> arithmetical presentation of surplus value, labor power
> figures purely and simply as a commodity....

I don't see Althusser as making the general "no way you can
calculate values" claim. Rather, he seems to be saying it's
problematic to think of labour-power as having a determinate
value, at par with ordinary commodities; this elides the role of
class struggle in setting the rate of exploitation.


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