[OPE-L:4723] Ricardo and Marx

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Wed Dec 20 2000 - 14:30:55 EST

re 4717

>At 12:44 18-12-00 +0000, Paul Cockshott wrote:
>>Why should we be worried about Marx following on from Ricardo?
>  >The differences between them are relatively minor when compared to
>  >the differences between the two of them and most other economists.
>Of course this depends on what you consider most important in Marx. If that
>would be the awareness of value-form and its impact, the differences
>between Ricardo and Marx are much greater than that between Marx and e.g.


I understand Marx's argument as follows.

1. due to commodity form, products of labor have both use and exchange value.
2. on the basis of this immanent contradiction, Marx can explain how it is
     externalized as use values and value, commodities and money (Marx derives
     money from the contradiction which is immanent in a product of labor
     once it takes the commodity form while other schools can neither explain
     money nor the dichotimisation of economic space).
3. so while commodities potentially ex-change into value, money is value (this
    is one of the three peculiarities of the value form)
4. money seems to receive an increment simply because it *is* 
value--this is the
     fetishism of money
5. value then appears as a self-acting subject

As person and thing are inverted, value itself seems to create the 
allowable forms of development (M-M'; M-C-M' M-C-P-C-M') such that by 
this development it unfailingly begets itself in greater quantity; 
yet while active in this process, value seems (in violation of 
Newtonian law) to itself suffer no reaction--value is thus itself a 
metaphysical subtlety.   "As the dominant subject of this process, in 
which it alternately assumes and loses the form of money and the form 
of commodities, but preserves and expands itself through all these 
changes, value requires above all an independent form by means of 
which its identity with itself may be asserted. Only in the shape of 
money does it possess this form." So value seems to be an unmoved 
mover, a metaphysical subject, "a self moving substance, which passes 
through a process of its own, and for which commodities and money are 
both mere forms." So it is the unmoved mover of value, as personified 
in the capitalist, which seems to activate the working class by 
employing and providing it with the tools of production and the means 
of subsistence.

  Marx criticized Ricardo for his failure to explain points 2 and 3 
and would have criticized Keynes for a superficial understanding of 
the roots of the fetishism in point 4 and thus for the superficiality 
of the programme which he recommended to combat it. That is, the 
fetishism of money is inseparable from a system of generalized 
commodity production; one cannot be eliminated without the other.

I would of course have to (re)read Martha Campbell's important work 
to become clear on where the breaks are in Marx and Ricardo and Marx 
and Keynes.

Yours, Rakesh

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