[OPE-L:6359] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: recent science and society and Fred M's interpretation

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Fri Jan 18 2002 - 10:30:03 EST

On Thu, 17 Jan 2002, nicola taylor wrote:

> 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?
Hi Nicky,

I agree that "value-form theory" is a Marxist theory, in the sense of
being inspired by Marx's theory.  But I don't thing it is Marx's theory,
i.e. the theory that Marx himself thought he was constructing in
Capital.  There may be a few ambiguous passages in which Marx may be
interpreted in a "value-form" way, but I think the overwhelming textual
evidence is that Marx assumed abstract labor, as the substance of value
determined independently of the form of value, and which determines the
prices of commodities, the necessary form of appearance of value.  

And I don't think that value-form theories, which not do assume abstract
labor as the substance of value, can explain the all-important phenomena
of surplus-value and the other key phenomena that Marx derived from his
theory of surplus-value (conflict over the working day, inherent
technological change, etc.)


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