[OPE-L:6374] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: recent science and society and Fred M's interpretation

From: nicola taylor (n.taylor@student.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Sat Jan 19 2002 - 08:58:37 EST

Hi Fred [6359],

my questions to Rakesh have to do *only* with the issue of whether the
Lakatosian framework is useful as a way to classify what is Marxist and
what is not Marxist.  

Recall that Rakesh defines the 'hard core' of Marxist theory as follows:

>Marx's theory was one of the magnitude and the form of value, that is 
>at the core of his own theory.

Since the magnitude of value refers only to a quality of value (that of
being measurable) any theory that relates any measure of the magnitude of
value to any theory of value form is Marxist - by Rakesh's definition.
Given this definition it follows as a matter of logic that one cannot
exclude value form theories.  At most, one can simply assert that a
particular way of relating the magnitude to the form of value is not Marx's
way (which is basically what Rakesh ends up doing).

It may well be that: 
i) the Lakatosian framework is not useful as a way to make the distinction,
ii)the core of Marx's theory needs to be defined more explicitly.

In the case of ii) do all Marxists agree on what constitutes the measure of
the magnitude of value?

If not, we are back to the original question: is the concept of a
Lakatosian 'hard core' useful in distinguishing Marxist, post-Marxist,
neo-Marxist theories...

Perhaps your own argument for treating value-form theories as
'post-Marxist' is of a different order, since you are not appealing to a
'hard core' postulate but to textual evidence as a means of evaluation.  




>> 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.)

Nicola Taylor
Faculty of Economics
Murdoch University
South Street
W.A. 6150

Tel. 61 8 9385 1130 
email: n.taylor@stu.murdoch.edu.au

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