[OPE-L:5742] Re: Re: why are we on this list?

From: Ajit Sinha (ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in)
Date: Sat Jun 02 2001 - 03:07:35 EDT

Gerald_A_Levy wrote:

> Re Rakesh's [5735]:
> Did anyone else notice the irony that shortly after
> complaining that Steve et al were responsible for
> the endless discussions by Marxists about the
> 'transformation problem' etc and were thereby
> stopping our progression onto other topics such
> as the world market, Rakesh himself has re-raised
> the issue of the TP in his questions in [5735] to
> Gary?
> The record on OPE-L, I would assert, has not
> been that the discussions on the TP have been
> raised by those on the list who have charged that
> Marx is logically inconsistent. Rather, it is those
> who have attempted to show that Marx is logically
> consistent and that the 'problem' is a non-problem
> who have been the ones who have initiated some
> of our more lengthy exchanges on the TP. Another
> irony:  one of our recent threads on the TP was
> extended by Rakesh himself with his ardent
> support of the Gouverneur solution. In general,
> our debates have mostly focused on who had
> the best solution to the TP rather than wether there is a solution to the
> TP.
> All we need do to break this cycle is agree to
> move on to other topics. But, if we go on to again
> discuss issues associated with the TP then let
> us at least not scapegoat our members who believe
> that there is no legitimate solution to the TP.
> In solidarity, Jerry


I couldn't agree more with you on this, Jerry! I think the problem with
Marxism is that it is unnecessarily hung up on the concept of value and its
relation to labor. But once you put it as the central piece in the game, then
obviously you cannot make a second step without confronting the
transformation problem. Sraffa could cut through this chase by showing that
profit is a non-price phenomenon without resorting to the problem of value
and its relation to labor. I, in my 1996 paper, have argued that the
significance of labor as a unit of measure in Marx should be sought in his
concept of exploitation and not value. At that very general level my position
has some affinity with Foley, Dumenil, etc., but of course I think their way
of going about it is unconvincing and ultimately not very interesting--but it
is a start. But people who think that the essence of *Capital* lies in its
first chapter will never be able to get out of the first chapter because
there is a logical break between the problematic of first chapter and the
problematic of the rest of *Capital*. The problematic of pure exchange
economy is not the problematic of capitalist economy--there is no production
of surplus in chapter one, by the way. The emergence of surplus is a
significant event for the theory, and the concepts developed for
understanding a pure exchange economy will not be sufficient for the
understanding of the exchange economy that produces surplus. This is the
basic methodological problem that lies behind the transformation problem.
Chapter 9 of *Capital* III check mates the concept of value of chapter one of
volume one. Cheers, ajit sinha

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