[OPE-L:4658] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Questions

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Fri Dec 08 2000 - 23:02:12 EST

re 4657:

>To re-ask the question, then, given your interpretation above of the "value
>of labor power", can we infer from Marx's argument in Chapter 6 that
>capitalists must purchase *labor power*--simply the capacity to work--in
>order to appropriate surplus value?  From your previous post once removed,
>I got the impression that in your reading, Marx sidesteps this question by
>simply assuming it away.  Is this impression accurate?


In order to extract surplus value in a free exchange society in which 
labor is carried out by formally free proletarians--that is, assuming 
the basic institutional set up of a developed capitalist 
society--entrepreneurs have to find on the market a commodity whose 
use value posseses the peculiar property of being a source of 
exchange value.   In Steve's K terms, the dialectic of use 
value-exchange value allows Marx to specify that it cannot be labor 
time but rather labor capacity which proletarians alienate on the 
market.  This basic distinction is novel.

   It seems that you are demanding that Marx derive from the concept 
of surplus value itself the necessity of the universalisation of  the 
form of wage labor.  But Marx already assumes that labor is carried 
out by formally free wage workers--he accomodates himself to this 
fact theoretically as capitalists do practically.  But this does not 
sidestep the question of the source of surplus value. In fact it 
makes the question even more puzzling. And it can't be answered 
unless we analytically separate labor power from labor as they are 
separated in fact. So even if you prove that capitalists can extract 
surplus value from other than formally free wage laborers--in some 
cases and in some times and in some pockets--you will not have 
undermined the distinction between labor power and labor. Moreover, 
you agreed with me long ago that as a mode of production, capitalism 
simply depends on the mobility of labor power, i.e., on free wage 
labor. But that is not the argument Marx is making here. He already 
assumes complete dependence on free wage laborer; he wants to explain 
the mystery of surplus value in such conditions. What do you think 
Marx is trying to prove in ch 6? Again, what is it precisely that you 
think proletarians sell on the market?

Yours, Rakesh

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Dec 31 2000 - 00:00:04 EST