[OPE-L:4606] Re: Re: reply to Fred (1)

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Mon Dec 04 2000 - 16:06:22 EST

re 4605

>Hi Rakesh,
>Well, first I think it is very important that (as you agree) your
>original statement was incorrect. This was a very strong statement
>regarding SV, viz that, in your original words (and case), the
>assumption of exchange 'EXACTLY' at value is necessary to
>ensure that the only source of SV is labour power / labour.
>(Important simply because the road to a rejection of Marx's theory
>of SV is a short one if your statement were to be accepted, and
>Marx explicitly denies your statement).

What did I say? I thought I said that in the case of the exchange of 
equivalents, Marx argued that only the use of labor power could be 
the source of surplus value.

And if we are to take bootmaking as an example of capital as a whole, 
then we do indeed have to stipulate that the leather and awl were 
bought at prices proportional to their full value. This is what Marx 
does. I think this is what I said.

>'Postulating' exchange at value in volume one certainly does make
>life easier for Marx.

And you do not deny that this is indeed what he does, in particular 
with the commodity labor power. Why no comment on the passages to 
which I referred.

>  But he is, from ch 6, through volume 1, looking
>at only the abstract and general features common to all industrial
>capitals, so he cannot introduce price / value deviations that are
>due to systematic differences between capitals (different OCCs for

So are you saying that Marx does indeed assume that all inputs and 
outputs do indeed exchange at their full value?

>  Indeed, without these distinctions he has no basis to
>assume anything other than price / value equivalence. Also chs 1-6
>have established that with or without this assumption surplus
>labour is the sole source of SV.

In his thought experiment Marx assumes that all laboring activity 
will be performed by those who sell (and have to sell) their labor 
power openly on the market (this is obviously not a stipulation but 
an institutional feature of a developed capitalist society)--that is, 
he simply rules out plantation slavery or the putting out system 
though in the early history of capitalism both were indeed sources of 
surplus labor and surplus value.  Moreover, Marx stipulates that 
labor power, like all other commodities, sells at prices proportional 
to their full value. These are simply the conditions for the problem 
of explaining the mystery of surplus value.

>Moreover, it is worth stressing that the very fact of the immediate
>qualitative difference (opposition indeed) of value and price, coupled
>with the fact that the former can only have form as the latter,
>indicates that, on the introduction of more concrete (ie. particular
>and individual) considerations, it is *likely* that there will be price-
>value divergence. (This is Marx's point against Ricardo as well
>expresed in Ilyenkov and Pilling - see also Patrick Murray).

Marx is certainly saying this; he is *also* setting prices as 
proportional to value in vol 1.

>So it is not a 'stipulation', in the sense of a constraint imposed from
>without upon the object, because Marx is not constraining anything
>one way or the other. Instead he is paying close attention to the
>level of abstraction (of particularity and individuality) that he is
>working at, as he develops his grasp of the object. Thus Marx does
>not impose assumptions in order to make his life easy, or to 'ease'

He does not disallow labor power from selling below its value? But I 
quoted Marx where he does exactly this.

>  Rather, he explores in full the object in a systematic
>fashion, beginning with the most abstract and general level and
>developing particularity and individuality step by step from this
>abstract point.

Isn't developing particularity and individuality allowing commodities 
in vol 3 to no longer exchange at ratios proportional to their full 
values but rather at prices of production?

All  the best, Rakesh

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