[OPE-L:5194] Re: Re: was Marx an economist?

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Sat Mar 17 2001 - 10:20:12 EST

Hi Nicola,

On 16 Mar 2001, at 2:31, Nicola Taylor wrote:

> However, I also consider that crucial differences
> among Marxists stem from irreconcilable ambiguities in
> Marx's own texts that render any definitive reading of
> Marx's theory of value, near impossible.  Andy B's
> take on socially necessary labour, imo, stems from a
> paradigmatic split between those who hold to an
> abstract-labour embodied interpretation of Marxian
> value theory, and those who do not.  Or, from a
> different angle, the split might be seen to be between
> those who read into Marx an ontological role for
> *money* (eg credit) as a crucial determinant of
> economic activity in a value-form determined system
> (capitalism), and those who do not.  There seems to be
> no way around this problem except to make one's own
> reading of Marx explicit.

You paint a very post-modern picture here! If it were true and if 
Marx is the best presentation of the CMP around then I think we 
may as well unsubscribe and forget any attempt at scientific 

Value-form and systematic dialectic interpretations of Marx find 
some support in Marx but *also* clearly disagree with Marx on 
important points (eg on when and if ab SNL should be introduced)

More 'traditional' embodied labour theories find support from Marx 
and *also* clearly depart from many of Marx's statements in 
Capital...witness the transformation problem.

*Neither* therefore accords / agrees with universally recognised 
aspects of Marx's own view. This is not unambigous. It is clear.

*If* there were no other view then we would indeed have to live with 
this unhappy situation and, perhaps, take R&Ws line on Marx's 
'Ricardian hangover'. But there *are* other views.

I would claim to support an interpretation which does not suffer 
from the major shortcomings that must be acknowledged in the two 
views mentioned above. I would suggest that the work of Ben Fine 
and colleagues on the transformation problem and the TRPF 
(distinguiishin OCC VCC and TCC) is basically correct and fits 
Marx better than other views. Sure this needs debating - but let us 
not undermine the foundations for such debate before we begin!

Note that, on my interpretation, this work holds that money is 
important *and* affirms that value is congealed abstract labour. So 
your dichotomy is a false one.

Best wishes,


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