[OPE-L:6338] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: recent science and society and Fred M's interpretation

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 20:01:03 EST

>Hi Rakesh, 2 questions for you:
>>It is of course possible to give a *description* of crises, working
>>class struggle within the abode of production and unemployment
>>without reference to labor value (all one has to do is remove rose
>>blinkered spectacles); it is not however possible in my opinion to
>>give a deep explanation of the root causes of said developmental
>>tendencies of the capitalist sytem on any other foundation than the
>>one of labor value (or as Tony Smith would put it, in the
>>commodity-form, money form, and capital form themselves; of course
>>one could argue that rooting said phenomena in these forms does not
>>necessarily commit one to the theory of labor value).
>i) do you agree with Tony that Marx provided some grounds for 'rooting said
>phenomena' in the value forms?
>If you do agree, let's (for arguments sake) say that the value-form
>determination of productive activity (and determination of patterns of
>consumption) is the Lakatosian hard core concept of Marxism, and labour
>values little more than a protective belt.  Then:
>ii) are theories that attempt to develop this strand of Marx's thought
>Marxist theories, given that they can explain the said phenomena without
>recourse to labour values?

this is appealing and well put indeed, Nicky, but my answer is no! 
yes capitalist crises are rooted in value forms (by which I mean the 
basic institution of commodity production (the commodity form) by 
means of wage labor (wage form) for the purposes of private 
appropriation (money- and capital-forms). But I think Marx's 
explanation of why such an institutional arrangement--value form 
theories helps us to specify its key features--leads to crises and 
immiseration depends on the theory of labor value; moreover, it is my 
hunch that without the theory of labor value it is not possible to go 
from the value form specification of bourgeois institutions to a 
satisfactory theory of general crisis.

But I may not understand value form theory properly.  Now that I have 
moved, I wanted to ask Michael Williams for a photocopy of his book 
with Geert Reuten because the Stanford Library does not even have it! 
I think Michael W was offering copies to people on the list?


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