[OPE-L:6372] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: recent science and society and Fred M's interpretation (fwd)

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Fri Jan 18 2002 - 22:02:18 EST

re 6362
> I think questions of the sort I'm asking now are appropriate, if not called
> for, precisely because this list *is* devoted to the "development of Marx's
> own theory,"  if it is accepted that Marx is not a deity, and thus his
> theory is open to refinement or revision, as theoretical investigation
> dictates.  Otherwise we're just exegetes and disciples, no?

Gil, this is a false opposition. I think this list should be one for people who 
assume Marx got it mostly right in what he did but we now need to develop that 
theory to analyze the state, the world market, oil rent, etc. I think turnover 
time is especially important to analyze, by the way.  

You think Marx got his own basics wrong. But it is you who is wrong. Marx was a 
single person, fallible indeed. For example, his explanation for absolute rent 
strikes me as quite contrived. 

We can revisit the basics--was Marx's method logico historical or categorially 
dialectical or something else. That's important.

But what's also important is the task of completing  and applying his theory to 
phenomena which he did not study (state debt in any detail) and which have 
since appeared falls on us. 

> I don't see why there needs to be.  Per the above, I've never represented
> myself as offering a comprehensive revision of Marx's theory.  Before that
> can be done, groundwork must be done on the basic tenets or starting points
> of his argument, which is what I've focused on.  

You are hung up on a point the significance of which you have not been able to 

> >So just among the people here on OPE-L you have to 
> >recognize that your hard questioning of others
> [Why call it "hard" questioning?  Why not "interesting" or "curious" or
> "intendedly development-provoking" questioning? Shouldn't we all be asking
> questions of this sort on the list?]

because you are out to bury the explanatory basis of Marx's theory. 

> > can come across as a 
> >refusal to turn the analysis inward on the gaping holes in the 
> >tradition that you represent.
> Again with the caveat that I don't really know what "tradition" I
> "represent", I certainly have not "refused" to criticize the problems of
> analytical Marxism!  For instance, I've written papers criticizing Roemer's
> (non-) treatment of the labor-labor power distinction. 

so as i have asked you before what's your explanation for how Marx discovered 

> (Not "due to" the putative transformation problem--the problems I see with
> value analysis run much deeper than that, and are encountered much more
> immediately in Capital.)

that there is no third thing in terms of which commodities are being 
commensurated? that value reduces to exchange value? that Bailey was right? 
that Marx was wrong to think that Bailey was wrong? Boy, you have just reduced 
Marx to a visionary whose abilities of analysis were quite below average, no? 

> >
> >But total value (i say total value instead of surplus value) coming 
> >before price and price changes in themselves not changing that total 
> >value seem to be pretty basic to Marxian theory. 
> Let's pursue that point a second.  Do you accept the possibility that
> profit-seeking capitalists would choose among available production
> techniques based on relative prices of inputs (so as to minimize costs)?
> And if so, since the choice of production techniques determines the direct
> and indirect abstract labor requirements for production, wouldn't it be
> more appropriate to say that prices "come before" total value?

difference of what comes first in terms of appearance (price and value are 
temporally coincident in my opinion) and what comes first in terms of 
explanation. temporally before and logically before.

> I'd like to pursue this a bit more if you don't mind:  in your reading, is
> it only the (weighted, I presume) *sum* of prices of production that are
> "determined" by abstract labor time expenditures?  Not, say, individual
> prices of production?  And on what grounds are prices of production held to
> be "determined" by SNLT?  The grounds Marx gives in Vol. I, Ch. 1?

What Marx shows is that the average rate of profit not only does not contradict 
the law of value (malthus was wrong), its magnitude can only be explained by 
the quantity of labor time performed gratis by the working class. 

Now yes Ajit would say that Marx needed to rely on value to make the 
determination of magnitude because he did not have available to him 
simultaneous equations which makes value redundant. 

but I agree with Shaikh's criticism of the redundancy charge. have you ever 
responded to it? has any post value theorist ever responded to it?


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