[OPE-L:5565] Re: William ofOckam'sRazor and Political Economy

From: Ajit Sinha (ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in)
Date: Mon May 14 2001 - 07:19:38 EDT

I'm conveinced that this is going to be a complete waste of time, and I have right
now no time to waste, so i would not follow this any more. Cheers, ajit sinha

Rakesh Narpat Bhandari wrote:

> re AJit's 5556
> >
> >___________________
> >
> >For the sake of simplicity, let us stick to capitalism from now on and not any
> >society.
> Well this is not how Marx proceeded in the Grundrisse the
> methodological introduction to which I had basically quoted, but
> perhaps you did not notice. In his critique of Robinsonades Marx
> simply took as a starting point man's dependence on each other need,
> on association, on social labor. So Marx did specify a way in which
> it makes sense to speak in logical terms of social labor before we
> speak of how either it is distributed to various activities or its
> products are divvied up.
> But let's get to the question which you think you is basic and straightforward.
> >  So you say that total social labor is given prior to its distribution? Now,
> >do we know what is the quantity of this *given* total social labor?
> >How do we go
> >about knowing this information?
> As you know Fred M, Edward Wolff, Shaikh and Tonak, Duncan F, Allin
> and Paul C and many other have made estimates of the number in the
> work force, the percentage which are laborers productive of value and
> the hours which have been logged by workers in general and productive
> labor in particular.
> >
> >
> >What do you mean by "the capacity of the members of that society to labor"?
> Converting energy to labor.
> >Is it
> >somekind of biological maximum that doctors can determine?
> Probably they can make some estimate.
> >How is this "capacity to
> >labor" determined? Do we also take capitalists' capacity to labor in
> >determining the
> >society's total labor?
> We can make two estimates: one of the total workforce in which
> capitalists qua managers would be included and one in which only the
> workforce productive of value would be specified.
> >
> >
> >>
> >>
> >>  >and how do you know how much of its quantity there is.
> >>
> >>  A larger society, a healthier society, etc. would  have a greater
> >>  quantity of labor time at its disposal.
> >
> >________________________
> >
> >The question was "how do you know how much of its quantity there
> >is". Is it such a
> >hard question to understand?
> No we can look at the statistics; we can see how many people worked;
> we can estimate what percentage was productive of value; we can
> estimate how much labor time was unused from the statistics--and this
> would have to be added to the labor time at the disposal of a society.
> >If somebody asked you how much of trousers do you own,
> >do you generally answer that if I had more money i could own more?
> >Just look at the
> >absurdity of the nature of your answer to the precise question. And this is my
> >problem with the Marxist-Hegelian mumbo jumbo.
> I don't think your question is precise by any stretch of the
> imagination. What do you mean by distribution?
> By "distribution" are you referring to the distribution of product or
> distribution of income; or by distribution are you referring to the
> division of labor?
> Obviously there would be no product to distribute if it was not
> produced first, so we could then make estimate of the labor time that
> had been spent in the production of the product. Obviously there
> could no social division of labor if there were not social labor to
> be divided up in the first place. So if you want to simply sum up the
> hours spent in the various activities which comprise the entire
> social division of labor, I don't see why you could not do so.
> Though you seem not the least bothered by it,you reveal yet again
> your ignorance by referring to my reply as Marxist-Hegelian since
> neither did I use any Hegelian terminology nor did you make any
> precise analysis of the way in which my analysis is Hegelian in any
> sense.
> It is also obvious that obscurantism does not only come in Hegelian
> form. Hegelian does not mean obscurantist.
> If I suffer from obscurantism, it is not because I am Hegelian so you
> will need to specify more clearly the kind of obscurity from which
> you think I suffer, instead of using the same form of abuse for
> everything which you do not think makes sense.
> >
> >_______________________
> >
> >Forget about "any society" and just concentrate on capitalist society.
> Why should I follow your order? Why is the methodological order worth
> following?
> >  So the
> >relation of production is given.
> >  Now, are you saying that the total quantity of
> >abstract social labor is dependent upon how it is distributed to
> >various concrete
> >production processes?
> Well yes of course. It is Marx's theoretical argument that in a
> society in which the division of social labor is effected by or
> through the exchange value of things, some growing portion of the
> social labor time at its disposal will be wasted in the form of a
> surplus population.
> >If so, then could you specify what kind of relationship is
> >there between the distribution of social labor and its total quantity?
> This is analyzed in the chapter on the general law of accumulation.
> >  And of
> >course, you must have noticed that your answer here seems to
> >contradict what you
> >said above about social labor is given prior to its distribution,
> >but I'm not too
> >much concerned about it at this moment.
> No it does not contradict the answer which I gave. I said that it
> makes sense to speak of humanity's dependence on social labor--this
> is Marx's critique of robinsonades--before we speak of how that
> social labor is divided in an ongoing manner.
> For reasons completely beyond me, you take this to be Marxist
> Hegelian mumbo jumbo, though again I am obviously only trying to
> rephrase Marx's famous letter to Feuerbach on value.
> >___________________
> >
> >>
> >>
> >>  >  In what way the total
> >>  >quantity and its distribution are related to each other?
> >>
> >>  There is a historically variable relation; while each society has to
> >>  accomplish an ongoing division in (or distribution of) the social
> >>  labor on which it depends--no natural law can be done away with--that
> >>  division is effected in historically variable ways. Starting then
> >>  with social labor, Marx reasons that in a society in which man's
> >>  relations are primarily through things, the distribution of social
> >>  labor obviously has to be effected through the exchange value of
> >>  those things.
> >
> >_______________________
> >
> >Let's stick to capitalism. The question was "In what way the total
> >quantity and its distribution are related to each other?" Your answer is "the
> >distribution of social
> >labor obviously has to be effected through the exchange value of
> >those things."
> >Again an absurd answer to a simple question. The question is not about how the
> >distribution of labor is effected. The question is that if you admit that
> >distribution of labor affects its quantity,
> The manner in which social labor is divided in bourgeois society can
> affect the length of the working day; it can affect proportion of the
> social labor which is actually expended, i.e. how much labor time is
> wasted in the form of surplus persons; it can affect the different
> kinds of processes into which that labor is divided; it can affect
> the proportion of time spent in each of these respective various
> activities.
> >then you need to tell us what kind of
> >relation exists between the two. How the distribution of labor is
> >effected is simply
> >not the question.
> >_____________________
> Again I do not understand your question since you never specified in
> any sense what you meant by distribution. Are you asking me
> a)about total social labor that is at a society's disposal or the
> total social labor time which is actually expended
> b)by distribution of labor do you mean distribution of the products
> of social labor or distribution of social labor time to various
> concrete activities?
> the argument which you are trying to set up with these questions is
> hardly evident either.
> >
> >
> >What I'm trying to do is to prove to you, and to many others who follow the
> >Marxist-Hegelian interpretation of the value problematic, that your
> >understanding of
> >the value problematic is nothing but a jumble of confusion by making
> >you realize
> >that this way of thinking makes you completely incapable of
> >answering very basic,
> >straightforward, and simple questions. Cheers, ajit sinha
> Your question is not well specified at all. In fact it is as badly
> specified as your embarrasingly overused phrases of abuse.
> Rakesh

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