[OPE-L:3340] Re: Re: starting points [can surplus value be measured?]

From: Ajit Sinha (ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in)
Date: Thu May 25 2000 - 08:02:16 EDT

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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. It is clear
> that this arithmetical present of surplus value conforms with the order of
> exposition followed by Marx: it therefore depends on his 'starting point'
> and on subsequent distinctions (constant capital transferring a part of
> its value to the commodity, variable capital invested in labor power).
> *Even if* we were to accept this starting point, this beginning, and these
> distinctions, ... *this* (arithmetical) *presentation of surplus value may
> be taken for a complete theory of exploitation*, causing us to neglect the
> conditions of labor and of reproduction. Marx does however talk about
> these conditions--but in other chapters.... You can in fact seriously
> question whether this misunderstanding... has not finally constituted a
> theoretical and political obstacle in the Marxist Labor Movement... [and]
> contributed in part to a classical division between the economic struggle
> and the political struggle... today still hindering the broadening of the
> forms of the whole working class and people's struggles."
> Paul Z.


Another hint that my critique of chapter one and particularly the critique of
the concept of labor power as a commodity is right on the money! Cheers, ajit

> ***********************************************************************
> Paul Zarembka, supporting RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY
> ******************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka
> bhandari@Princeton.EDU (Rakesh Bhandari) said, on 05/23/00:
> >Moreover, I follow Mattick Jr
> >(personal correspondence) in his radical rejection of the idea that value
> >can ever be measured (or operationalized).

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