[OPE-L:4656] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Questions

From: Gil Skillman (gskillman@MAIL.WESLEYAN.EDU)
Date: Fri Dec 08 2000 - 22:09:48 EST

Rakesh, you write

>Gil, it is not immediately obvious how there can be surplus value 
>since workers are free to sell their labor (so it seems) to the 
>highest bidder.  We have to understand what it is that workers 
>alienate on the market (once we do, the basic confusion in Ricardian 
>value theory between cost of production and quantity of labor is 
>eliminated or so argues Marx).

I agree that it's not immediately obvious how there can be surplus value,
and I agree that we have to understand what it is that workers alienate on
the market, if that's what they do.

> What precisely do you think workers 
>sell on the market? Themselves? Their labor? Their labor capacity? 
>What is that? Is it a commodity?

For the moment, the issue isn't what I think. You've already heard what I
think, and you haven't found it at all compelling.  So now I'm trying to
find out what you think Marx has established via his argument in Vol I,
Part 2 of Capital, so I can determine the root of our disagreement.  So
again I ask: may I infer from what you've said that in your reading of
Marx, it *can't* be inferred from his Ch. 6 argument that capitalists must
hire labor power as a commodity in order to appropriate surplus value?
N.B.:  when I use the phrase "labor power as a commodity", I intend the
same sense Marx uses in this passage from the first page of Chapter 6:

"...our friend the money-owner must be lucky enough to find within the
sphere of circulation, on the market, a commodity whose use value possesses
the peculiar property of being a source of value....The possessor of money
does find such a special commodity on the market: the capacity for labour,
in other words labour-power."


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