[OPE-L:3620] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: constant capital and variable capital

From: Gil Skillman (gskillman@mail.wesleyan.edu)
Date: Tue Aug 08 2000 - 11:39:10 EDT

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Rakesh asks:

>Gil, please excuse me: what the h.. do you think Marx's larger project in
>Capital is.

His project is to show that capitalism is premised on the exploitation of
labor, and that its development implies tendentially increasing the degree
of exploitation of labor. I may or may not have this exactly right, but
I'll bet there's no alternative statement that renders Marx's aggregate
equalities in V. III or his price-value proportionality stipulation in V. I
logically central to that larger project.

Let me put the same point in the form of a question. Suppose you were
somehow convinced that claims (2) - (4) were indeed wrong, but accepted the
validity of claim (1), which asserts the equivalence of positive profit,
positive surplus value, and exploitation of labor, without asserting any
particular micro- or macro-association between labor values and prices.
Would you then think Marx had failed? Would you stop being a Marxist?


> Marx's value-price theory is clearly not primarily aimed at establishing
>any kind of fundamental theorem which has ethical implications over which
>Roemer, Sen, Cohen, Dworkin and other luminaries can ruminate ; rather it
>attempts to exlain how the price system provides micro-incentives for the
>kind of technical change that reduces the mass of surplus value vis-a-vis
>accumulation requirements, resulting in seizures of the production system,
>general crises and opportunities for both revolutionary transformation and
>violent counter-revolutions. It makes sense of capitalism's actual bloody
>and catastrophic history and its future. There is no mechanical transition
>to socialism. This is what is lost if we dispense with Marx's value price
>theory for your advanced linear algebra. And it is what the Marxist
>tradition has lost by not attending to Grossmann, Wm J Blake, Bernice
>Shoul, Mattick and others.
> All the best, Rakesh

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