[OPE-L:6331] Re: Re: Re: recent science and society and Fred M's interpretation

From: Gil Skillman (gskillman@MAIL.WESLEYAN.EDU)
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 14:46:48 EST

Rakesh, you write

>My first answer is simple and predictable: if the average rate of 
>profit is not ultimately determined by labor time relations, then 
>capitalism cannot give rise to those contradictions in the process of 
>production that Marx, as a materialist, thought were the precondition 
>for the revolutionary activity of the only the subject that Marx 
>thought had even the latent power to actually effect a transition in 
>the mode of production--the working class.

Understood as a direct answer to my initial question, this statement in
effect makes three connected claims:

1) Asserting that "the average rate of profit is...ultimately determined by
labor time relations" (I take this to mean that the average rate of profit
is presumed to be equal to the ratio of unpaid labor hours to the sum of
paid labor hours and the labor embodied in expended constant capital) is
tantamount to embracing the labor theory of value.

2)  Unless the average rate of profit is understood to equal the ratio just
indicated, capitalism cannot give rise to the contradictions Marx
identified as the precondition for revolutionary activity by the working class.

3)  If one feels that either of the above claims about capitalism is in
fact false, then one is not a Marxist.  

Accepting claim (1) for the sake of argument, I don't see the basis for
claim (2) or (3).  For example, with regard to (3), are you suggesting that
a necessary condition for being a Marxist is accepting every empirical
claim Marx made (in Capital, say), even if one feels some are false?  With
regard to (2), are you suggesting that the expressions of capitalist
contradiction Marx identified (immiseration of the working class,
increasingly severe crises) cannot arise *unless* the average rate of
profit equals the ratio indicated above?


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