[OPE-L:4264] Re: Re: Steve on the worthlessness of labor at the source of surplus value

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Wed Oct 25 2000 - 10:59:27 EDT

There we differ Paul. I believe that I am working more fully within Marx's
framework than anyone who starts from the premise that labor is the only
source of value. Marx himself was not willing to do this, as I show in my

As someone influenced by Hegel, Marx was not afraid to posit that his
"mentor" had sometimes failed to properly follow his own logic, as the
following excerpt from Marx's notes to his PhD thesis indicates:

"It is conceivable that a philosopher should be guilty of this or that
inconsistency because of this or that compromise; he may himself be
conscious of it. But what he is not conscious of is that in the last
analysis this apparent compromise is made possible by the deficiency of his
principles or an inadequate grasp of them. So if a philosopher really has
compromised it is the job of his followers to use the inner core of his
thought to illuminate his own superficial expression of it. In this way,
what is a progress in conscience is also a progress in knowledge. This does
not involve putting the conscience of the philosopher under suspicion, but
rather construing the essential characteristics of his views, giving them a
definite form and meaning, and thus at the same time going beyond them."
(Karl Marx 1839: notes to his doctoral dissertation, reprinted in McLellan

I find it sad that Marx's alleged followers aren't as willing as Marx
himself was to deeply examine the logic of those who inspired him.

At 09:37 AM 10/24/2000, you wrote:
>This is very important point Alejandro is making.  A lot of debates within
>and for/against Marx became "frozen" one way or another around the turn of
>the twentieth century.  I found that with regard to "accumulation of
>capital": it became "frozen" by Lenin's interpretation and by the smashing
>of Luxemburg's work.  Even "anti-Leninists" are often unaware of how the
>terms of this discussion were set up a century ago.
>To answer Steve, sorry, but I won't be struggling with your *Journal of
>the History of Economic Thought* pieces.  I decided a long time ago to
>work WITHIN Marxism as I understand its foundations and I consider one of
>its foundations that labor power is the source of value production.
>Paul Z.
>Paul Zarembka, editor, RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY at
>******************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka
>Alejandro Ramos <aramos@btl.net> said, on 10/24/00:
>>The idea that we may have a theoretical construction which "would render
>>reference to labor values superfluous even though Marx's substantive
>>claims about the exploitative nature of capitalist profits are affirmed"
>>is certainly not new.  
>>It was expressed in very clear terms by Tugan Baranowsky 100 years ago,
>>and he did provide a variant of such theoretical construction at that
>>This was framed within an important intellectual current of the epoch in
>>which neo-Kantianism had a strong influence on Socialdemocratic
>>intellectuals. So, I'm not "charging" you of this. (BTW, this is not a
>>court!) Simply, I'm trying to understand the position of your proposed
>>thought experiment in the set of ideas. 
Dr. Steve Keen
Senior Lecturer
Economics & Finance
University of Western Sydney Macarthur
Building 11 Room 30,
Goldsmith Avenue, Campbelltown
PO Box 555 Campbelltown NSW 2560
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Home Page: http://bus.macarthur.uws.edu.au/steve-keen/

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