[OPE-L:4613] Re: Re: Re: reply to Fred (1)

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Tue Dec 05 2000 - 08:59:06 EST

Hi Rakesh,

I wrote:
> >
> >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'
> >results.

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

I appear to be completely failing to communicate my point here! 
Still this is a devilishly complex business so maybe it is not 
surprising. My objection is to the term 'disallow' above. To 'disallow' 
something is to rule it out by stipulation. The question this raises is 
how do we decide what to disallow? My point is that Marx is 
following the objective 'contours' of the object in making his 
assumptions. Very simply this means he is making assumptions 
that can be relaxed later in the analysis, without invalidating the 
prior analysis. This is only possible because the object itself is 
structured across levels of abstraction. 'Abstraction' thereby has an 
ontological as well as epistemological aspect. [But note that the 
object actually exists as a concrete whole, a synthesis of many 
determinations, from the most abstract to the concrete. So it is 
vital that Marx develops from the abstract to the concrete].

You use the term 'stipulation' etc. as if Marx is imposing these. But 
he is simply following the nature of the object; an object which is a 
'structured totality'. Don't you agree?

A second point I have been making is this: Marx makes absolutely 
clear in chs 4-6 that the assumption of equivalent exchange is not 
needed to establish that lab / lab power is the sole source of SV. 
This is absolutely crucial. Marx could not have been any clearer 
about this. I hope you agree. (yes, Marx goes on to assume 
equivalent exchange - but only after making clear that this is 
innocuous as regards the argument on the source of SV) 

Many thanks,


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