[OPE-L:5316] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Response to Rakesh)

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 02 2001 - 05:56:59 EDT

>getting techy.
>         mike
>At 07:32 PM 4/1/2001 -0400, you wrote:
>>  >Gil,
>>>You argue that Marx provides no link between surplus value and the
>>>commodification of labor power.
>>No, I do not argue that.  I argue that he provides no coherent basis for
>>this link as of Part 2 of Volume I of Capital, and where he does provide
>>that basis elsewhere his argument depends in no fundamental way on his
>>value analysis.

Gil, how did Marx discover that rather than labor itself, labor power 
is what is commodified in the exchange between free wage workers and 

>>>Surplus value can be appropriated by merchants simply by manipulating
>>>exchange or through the organization of the putting out system.
>>It's not a question of "manipulating exchange."  The issue is if the
>>circuit of capital at issue supports the creation and appropriation by
>>capitalists of new value, which presupposes that the circuit finances new
>>productive activity.

The circuit of merchant capital can't support new value in ch 5 
because marx says he considers merchant capital only in its trading 

>>>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.
>>Rather, Marx says that it is not a secure basis for surplus value *after*
>>the class conditions of the capitalist mode of production are in place.

OK, then what accounts for surplus value when those conditions are in place?

>>And under these conditions it doesn't "tend to increase the value in
>>circulation" only because merchant capital is then, in his assessment,
>>qualitatively restricted to the subsidiary role of redistributing existing
>>surplus.  This does not contradict my argument.

is Marx's "assessment" incorrect?

>>>  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
>>I've already answered this tiresome and pointless argument at least twice.
>>Once again, it's not a matter of patience, it's that Marx's argument on
>>this score is demonstrably invalid.  "Patience" won't make an invalid
>>argument become valid.

No but it guards against jumping to conclusions especially in a text 
which self conscioulsy laid traps for its readers.

>>   But even if he had, it seems clear from Marx's
>>argument that he doesn't take the fact of wage labor as given, but rather
>>sees it as part of his analytical task to *derive* the analytical basis for
>>wage labor given the "contradictions" in the general formula of capital.
>>If this were not the case, his arguments at the close of ch. 5 and the
>>beginning of Ch. 6 would necessarily be pointless.

Nope don't agree. Wage labor is taken as a given; the general 
production of commodities by means of wage labor is taken as a given. 
What Marx discovered is what free wage labor was freely exchanging 
for a wage.

>>But again, that is not the point the point at issue.  The point is that
>>Marx analytical derivation in Vol. I, Part 2 of exchange for commodified
>>labor power as the necessary basis of surplus value is logically invalid

I don't think commodified labor power is necessary, but if you are on 
the free wage labor island, it has to be labor power which those 
workers are alienating if you are going to explain not only surplus 
value but also the systematic increase in value in circulation.

>>>Marx  simply confines himself to the island on which workers do
>>>indeed find themselves;
>>On invalid grounds, as I've shown. We've already gone over all of these
>>points at least twice.  Why do you keep repeating them without advancing
>>the argument?

Post number where you showed this?

>>he later recognizes  the inherent instability
>>>of the putting out system. And you yourself have given additional
>>>explanation for its instability and general collapse.
>>Yes, a possible explanation rather than a conclusive one.  But this is
>>beside the point, which is that the value-theoretic argument he does put
>>forward in Vol. I is invalid.

Andy B already demonsrated that marx does not rely on PVE.

>>I tend to doubt that, but it's not really my concern, since I think that
>>Marx's value-theoretic formulations are incoherent whether or not the
>>correct definition of surplus value or cost price is used in discussing the
>>transformation problem.

So I take it that you are not on this list to advance a value 
theoretic understanding of contemporary capitalism.

>>And I submit that you've trivialized these criticisms by fundamentally and
>>consistently misrepresenting the points at issue.  Look, if you already
>>know that Marx is right in all major particulars,

he's more incomplete than wrong.

>>  it's not really in your
>>interest to participate in these discussions,

it's not really your interest to advance a Marxian theory of 
contemporary capitalism. So why are you on this list other than to 
tell people to give that task up for what you think is a post 
ptolemaic theory?

>>  since the attempts of those
>>in "power" (snort) to come to grips with the actual (il-)logic of Marx's
>>arguments can only appear as unnecessary annoyances to you.

Now Gil it does not follow that since I don't agree with (or even 
understand--and here I am sure I am not alone) your logical critique 
that there is no logical critique worth attending to--e.g. Geert's 
hypothesis of Marx's incomplete breaks from classical economics.

>>  It would be
>>far more edifying, I should think, for you to focus on preaching to the
>>already convinced.

Since you seem to have convinced no one of your criticism on this 
list after six years of getting--it seems fair to say--a fair 
hearing, you certainly are taking your own advice of not not 
preaching to the convinced.


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