[OPE-L:6319] Re: RE: Re: Re: recent science and society and Fred M's interpretation

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Tue Jan 15 2002 - 20:17:50 EST

>But Rakesh, surely it is possible to have class conflict, exploitation,
>realization crises, imperialism, financial meltdowns and all of the other
>problems one associates with capitalism -- WITHOUT subscribing to Marx's
>labor value analysis.

  Gary I agree that it is very possible to have non labor value 
theories of these maladies. And they may be better theories from a 
scientific and political point of view than Marxian ones. But they 
won't be Marxian ones if they are not based on the theory of labor 
value and more specifically Marx's own theory of *abstract labor* 
value. Marx may be wrong, he  may be outdated. And this is a question 
I very much want to keep on the table. Gil thinks there is a better 
theoretical explanation for exploitation than the Marxian one. This 
is indeed possible, but we should be clear that it is not a Marxian 
theory. This does not disqualify it; it clarifies it.   But I don't 
think you can take away the foundations of a theory and  keep the 
theory. That's just sleight of hand.

>In the end, of course, it doesn't matter whether this or that label is
>attached to what anyone thinks.  What matters is how well  a particular
>theory of how the world works meshes with the way the world actually does
>work.  I would argue that Marx gets high marks on that criterion, and he
>scores them without the LTV.

Without the labor theory of value, Marx has only a description of the 
tendencies of capitalist development, not an explanatory theory. And 
the empirical description of such phenomena as the concentration of 
capital, the expropriation of the middle classes, the crisis cycle 
was already given by William Playfair in the early 1800s. So then 
what's Marx's contribution without if not an explanation based on 
labor theory of value?


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