[OPE-L:3370] further replies to Gil

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Mon May 29 2000 - 11:45:57 EDT

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Hi Gil,

1. OK. let's confine ourselves only to the circuit of industrial capital
and then *also* rule out by assumption direct value producers (hence no
usury) and putter outters (hence no mercantile profit), i.e., assume the
complete expropriation of labor and thus the full commodification of labor
power which can only be bought under conditions of free and equal market
exchange. Now--and I take this to be Fred's question-- how do you explain
surplus value? Now barring neo Ricardianism due to its untenable assumption
of constant returns to scale (Patrick, thanks for the Freeman and Mandel
reference, the Jesus Albarracin essay p.190-91 seems decisive but I don't
know more matrix algebra than in Meek and Bradley), the debate comes down
to the question of the neoclassical theory of a diachronic exchange of
equivalents vs. Marx's value based exploitation theory

2. The historical hows and the strategic whys of labor power tending to be
fully commodified can be deferred (until part 8 of vol 1); that's not
Marx's question here--you of course have very interesting things to say
about this. But in terms of the chapter 5 and 6 questions, we can say this
is not relevant.

3. Why do you rule out excessive accumulation? Even if rate of profit
falls, mass of surplus value that needs to be valorized can become
enormous. The valorization base may indeed not be sufficient; in fact much
of real world capitalist dynamics over the last 150 years seems not
understandable if we simply assume that the valorization base is by
necessity sufficient, if the presupposition is simply posited (think of the
debates over immigration, the export of capital via imperialism). The rate
of accumulation can be slowed down by political or monetary machinations,
or over accumulated capital can be exported.

4. Gil, are you presenting here some version of the Roemer argument that
 exploitation is based on property rights since that it is the real
basis of the scarcity of capital, and hoping that by first getting us to
understand the explanatory primacy of the scarcity of capital in the
understanding of the phenomenon of interest , we will then be led
into examining the legal basis thereof. And then get into questions of
voucher socialism, and thus move beyond point of production class
struggle. And as we enter the so called information age of the 21st century
we can then leave behind Marxism with all the other materialist
superstitions and totemisms of the 19th century?

Yours, Rakesh

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