[OPE-L:3341] Re: Re: Re: starting points [can surplus value be measured?]

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Thu May 25 2000 - 10:04:53 EDT

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I suspected Ajit's reaction to this quote from Althusser. But I don't

Althusser thinks that Chapter One is the most difficult of _Capital_. So,
one can use Althusser to indicate difficulty. But Althusser never offered
a direct rereading of Chapter One to offer a solution to the problems he
found. That absence leaves open MANY avenues, not merely or especially
Ajit's. (A Belgium Marxist friend of mine once remarked to me that
Althusser was, in the final analysis, only raising questions.) And Fred's
reading of the role of Chapter One has as much credibility from this point
of view, and more credibility from Althusser's larger argument that
_Capital_ is about the "capitalist mode of production".

In my view, all starting points have a difficulty in precisely being the
first words on a page. Writing itself is linear, left to right (right to
left, or top to bottom, in some languages). We don't have a "matrix"
ability for writing (if "matrix" should be the appropriate metaphor for
what I'm attempting to say).

Paul Z.

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

Ajit Sinha <ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in> said, on 05/25/00:

>> "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 sinha

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