[OPE-L:4722] Ricardo and Marx

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Wed Dec 20 2000 - 00:25:06 EST

I think the passage Grossman had in mind was the following:

"Only in large scale industry has man succeeded in making the product 
of his past labour, labour which has already been objectified, 
perform gratuituous service on a large scale, like a force of 
nature...Ricardo lays such stress on this effect of machinery (of 
which, in other contexts, he takes no more notice than he does of the 
general distinction between the labour process and the valorization 
process) that he occasionally loses sight of the value given up by 
machines to the product, and puts them on the same footing as natural 
forces." capital I, vintage, p. 510

Of course Marx spares no praise of Ricardo's impartial analysis of 
the unemployment effect of machinery (on which Hick's appendix in his 
economic history seems very good), so there is obviously another 
context in which Ricardo takes notice of machinery. But it seems to 
be Marx's point that the change in the concrete labor process from 
manufacture to machinofacture must be grasped in precise theoretical 
terms (Rob Beamish's book on the division of labor is very good on 
Marx's method here) and the consequences of that change on the 
objective tendencies of capital fully explored (Babbage was important 
here). So it is interesting that while you criticize Ricardo in terms 
of his naturalism, Grossman criticizes him in terms of his 
insufficient materialism. Both criticisms seem to be contained in 
Marx's work.

Yours, Rakesh

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