[OPE-L:4608] Re: Re: Re: reply to Fred (1)

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Mon Dec 04 2000 - 18:49:20 EST

re 4607

>(3)  But if this is true, how does Marx account for the existence of SV
>given PVE in Chapters 6 and 7?  Answer: through an unjustified analytical
>sleight of hand.  That is, he *assumes* without any justification that
>workers who are "free in the double sense" must gain access to the means of
>production by selling their labor power as a commodity.  But this does not
>follow, since workers could, for example, just as readily gain access to
>the same means of production if capitalists *leased* them these constant
>capital commodities (see OPE-L post 3538, where I work out this scenario in
>detail).   **But under this otherwise isomorphic scenario, the existence of
>surplus value REQUIRES targeted price-value disparities, in the form of
>rental payments on the leased constant capital commodities.**


What is the sleight of hand here? I want to take your criticism 
seriously because it seems to go to the core of Marx's argument, but 
I simply cannot understand the point you make here. Marx  bases his 
thought experiment on the institutional set up of a developed 
capitalist economy in which labor is indeed performed by those who 
have sold their labor power to the few who own means of production. 
As Marx says, he simply confines himself to this fact theoretically, 
just as the capitalist is confined by it practically (p.273).  Maybe 
on the fantasy credit island workers could just as easily lease means 
of production. But this is not in fact the institutional set of a 
capitalist economy (with very  few exceptions of course).  So then 
Marx asks us to explain the mystery of surplus value even if do not 
allow doubly free workers to sell their labor power below its value. 
He says that the mystery vanishes once we understand what it is 
exactly that workers have sold.

Yours, Rakesh

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