[OPE-L:5307] Re: Re: (Response to Rakesh)

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Sun Apr 01 2001 - 14:12:32 EDT

You argue that Marx provides no link between surplus value and the 
commodification of labor power.

Surplus value can be appropriated by merchants simply by manipulating 
exchange or through the organization of the putting out system.

Marx himself underlines the former possibility but argues that it 
cannot be a secure basis for surplus value and does not tend to 
increase the value in circulation. He asks for our patience so he can 
lay out its new place in bourgeois society, i.e., as a derivative 
form of the value newly added in the industrial circuit of capital. 
Until recently, you have refused to give Marx your patience on this 

But then you say wage labor is not employed in the putting out system 
by means of which not only does the merchant appropriate surplus 
value but also increase the value in circulation.

So how can Marx jump to the commodification of labor power from the 
existence of surplus value in the circuit of capital or even surplus 
value in the aggregate?

But Marx's interest from the very first sentence of Capital vol 1 has 
been a fully developed bourgeois society in which free wage labor 
contracts for a wage.

To understand how not only surplus value is appropriated but the 
value in circulation is increased in such a society we need to grasp 
that proletarians do not alienate their labor but labor power for 

Marx  simply confines himself to the island on which workers do 
indeed find themselves; he later recognizes  the inherent instability 
of the putting out system. And you yourself have given additional 
explanation for its instability and general collapse.

But Gil I think it's time we take some stock of this six year list discussion.

We have a debate about the transformation problem in which the 
critics refuse to use Marx's definition of surplus value and cost 
price (on the latter see Fred and Alejandro).

we have criticisms of the falling rate of profit theory which smuggle 
in the methodology of comparative statics without justifying its use 
in the study of continuous technical change (as Ben Fine, Alan F and 
Andrew K have pointed out).

We have one critic who insists that Marx himself should have 
recognized that dead labor itself is productive of new value.

and we have another critic who chides Marx for not recognizing that 
surplus value can be appropriated via long antiquated forms of 
production in which wage labor was not used.

I know these seem as major, decisive criticisms to many. I submit 
that if not for the power behind them, they would obviously be 

Yours, Rakesh

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