[OPE-L:6302] Re: Re: Re: grossman (response to paul z) [or, the "silences" of Grossman and Lenin]

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Sun Jan 13 2002 - 11:06:02 EST

Rakesh Bhandari <rakeshb@stanford.edu> said, on 01/12/02:

>Mattick Sr's critique [of Luxemburg] is thus quite different in emphasis than Bukharin's.

I disagree.

Mattick's last work on Luxemburg says "her own solution of the problem
comprises, in essence, no more than a misunderstanding of the relation
between money and capital and a misreading of the Marxian text. ... [Her]
wrong idea was the unreflected consequence of Rosa Luxemburg's false notion
that the whole of the surplus-value, earmarked for accumulation, must yield
an equivalent in money form, in order to be realized as capital.  Actually,
of course, capital takes on the form of money at times and at other times
that of commodities of all descriptions - all being expressed in money
terms without simultaneously assuming the money form. "

This is nothing other than Bukharin's distortion of Luxemburg.  And Mattick
knows where he got this interpretation.  In his earlier 1974 work
(*Economic Crisis and Crisis Theory*), Mattick cites Bukharin on Luxemburg
quite a bit.  For example, he reports that Bukharin "saw the basis of
Luxemburg's false theory in her identification of the accumulation of
capital with that of money capital.... Bukharin, however, pointed out that,
like capital itself, surplus value appears in various forms: as
commodities, as money, as means of production, and as labor power." (p. 92;
also, p. 110). 

Note that Mattick does NOT provide page citations to Luxemburg to
substantiate Bukharin's reading; he simply offers up Bukharin as the hit
man (who, for me, is that the single most important critic of Luxemburg in
terms of effects -- not authenticity).

I will add that Mattick himself offers a falling rate of profit theory of
crises as Marx's:

     "The drive for exchange-value turns into the accumulation of capital,
which manifests itself in a growth of capital invented in means of
production relatively faster than that invested in labor-power. While this
process expands the capitalist system, through the increasing productivity
of labor associated with it, it also tends to reduce the rate of profit on
capital, as that part of capital invested in labor-power--which is the only
source of surplus-value--diminishes relative to the total social capital.
This long and complicated process cannot be dealt with satisfactorily in
this short article, but must at least be mentioned in order to
differentiate Marx's theory of accumulation from that Rosa Luxemburg. In
Marx's abstract model of capital development, capitalist crises, as well as
the inevitable end of the system, find their source in the temporary or,
finally, total breakdown in the accumulation process due to a lack of
surplus-value or profit. 

     "For Marx, then, the objective limits of capitalism are given by the
social production relations as value relations... " 

(from www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/2379/rosa.htm )

Yet, Marx's schemes and Luxemburg's discussion of them do not depend upon
rising c/v.


>But her theory of accumulation, crisis and catastrophe abstracts the 
>relations of exchange and the problem of realization from the  concrete
>capitalist totality, and such abstraction puts her closer to bourgeois
>economics than Marx's critique of political economy.

Grossman (1929, last page): 

     "Opponents of Marxism accept Luxemburg's critique with great
jubilation because it entails conceding the defective character of Marx's
system on a crucial point".  

Treating one of the longest and most detailed theoretical works within
Marxist political economy since Marx himself with this type of language is
one of the barriers being created inhibiting the development of Marxism as
a living and growing theory open to discussion, greater maturity and even
departure from Marx.

Paul Z.

********************* http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

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