[OPE-L:6567] Re: Re: RE: Re: * poll: who has advanced political econ om y since Marx? *

From: Christopher Arthur (cjarthur@waitrose.com)
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 08:03:51 EST

Paul (6555)
Your message re Julian 6553 cites Lenin's On the so-called Market question
from 'CW Vol 11'. Surely this is a mistake for Vol 1? Unless lenin wote two
things with this title? I disagree this article 'applies the Vol II
In this early work, Lenin cites the following from a discussion paper by H.
B. Krasin (theoretician of a group in St. Petersburg Lenin joined in 1893):
'[There are] two essentially different features in the accumulation of
capital: 1) the development of capitalist production in breadth, when it
takes hold of already existing fields of labour, ousting natural economy
and expanding at the latter's expense; and 2) the development of capitalist
production in depth, if one may so express it, when it expands
independently of natural economy, i.e. under the general and exclusive
domination of the capitalist mode of production.' (cited in V. I. Lenin 'On
the So-called Market Question' Collected Works Vol. 1, p. 89)
Now although Lenin gave a careful account of Marx's chapter on 'Expanded
Reproduction', he understood that this pertained solely to the second
issue, that is to say, it showed how capital could expand intensively, not
extensively ('Market Question' Works Vol. 1, p 89). There is nothing
whatever in Volume Two of Capital  on if and how capital might extend
itself geographically. (There is only one significant reference to the
transformation of pre-capitalist forms by world trade. It is clearly a
digression and relates solely to the transition of commodity production to
capitalist commodity production. It is not relevant to the Russian case
which has to do with the survival of communal production. D. Fernbach
translation, Penguin, pp. 119-20) Furthermore there is nothing in it on how
capital originally developed; it is solely concerned with how capital
accumulates once it is fully developed and self-enclosed. Unfortunately
then, it was useless to the Russians in assessing their conditions.
 Lenin did not even try to base himself on Volume Two. His arguments on if
and how capitalism could develop in Russia are independent of it.
However a certain misreading of the schemes of reproduction, made famous by
Rosa Luxemburg, did have some relevance. If one can believe Lenin's
account, Krasin anticipated Luxemburg in arguing that the restricted
purchasing  power  of its own workers forced capital to search out external
markets; these could either  be foreign markets or rooted in the
non-capitalist sector of a given country. Krasin drew up a two-sector model
of Russia in this spirit ('Market Question' p.90).  As Lenin observed, in
his paper on 'The Market Question', this view neglects the strength of the
internal market for capital goods, which powers the economy nicely, at
least during upswings.
But the main isue was whether the capitalist sector could or could not
overwhelm the non-capitalist sector. The schemas are useless for this.
Lenin's arithmetical example of how capitalism DEVELOPS do not rely on the
schemas for the simple reason these discuss ALREADY developd capitalism.
Chris A

>     Julian,   Just for a start ... i don't know what you've read,  you
>could  try  Lenin's  'On the so called Market question'... for an
>exposition  (CW Vol1) , an application of the reproduction schemas in a
>crushing response to a schema constructed by a Narodnik who aimed at
>opposing  the tsar and proving this was to be done in a political and
>social environment  in which capitalism could not develop... the question
>remained only one of the  peasantry.   I know of no other independent
>application of the schemas as a   political response... Lenin had an
>amazing capacity to take Marx and apply the  critical ideas  provided by
>him. ( It is interesting to see how for  years  entirely forgetable
>'academics' sought to undermine  future  political  use of the
>reproduction schemas like this, through trying to  drown  young radicals
>in the so called  'transformation' problem)  .   .I don't know what Jerry
>means by 'statistics' , the point is that Lenin  established the objective
>circumstances in which to fight by a study of, and  reinterpretation, of
>the Russian Government statistics, on the  basis of Marx's scientific
>achievement and this work came to full fruition in  'The Development of
>Capitalism in Russia'... and then in his formulation  of  a Party
>programme  properly  dealing with the land question.     Marx wasn't
>merely criticising 'PE' ,as Jerry seems to suggest... perhaps a  little
>ingenuously.... he was dissecting the scientific developments of   the
>representatives of  the progressive bourgeoisie, showing their limits,
>developing value theory on a methodologically complete footing, and
>attacking  the later 'prize fighters' of the bourgeoisie....It was a
>political fight, an  ideological battle. Lenin understood that.    Read
>the article I suggest Julian, asd an example,  and see what you  think.  
>Cheers   Paul     -----Original Message-----
>From: P.J.Wells@OPEN.AC.UK <P.J.Wells@OPEN.AC.UK>
>To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
>Date:  11 February 2002 19:19
>Subject: [OPE-L:6553] RE: Re: * poll: who has advanced  political econ om
>y since Marx? *
>>Jerry  wrote
>>>Re Julian's [6548]:
>>>> I'd be interested the hear the views of better-read comrades  than
>>>> myself on  this -- but do others agree with me that  Lenin
>>>advanced > the *practical* *critique* of political economy  to
>>>a marked degree?
>>>At the risk of sounding  heretical, what exactly was that advancement?
>>Well, actually I  was trying to emphasise the *practical* critique -- he did
>>participate in  a revolution, after all.
>>I'd agree with Jerry that many of those  works of his which are best known to
>>the average revolutionary activist  are either popularisations (i.e., not
>>scientific works as such) or  contemporary polemics.

17 Bristol Road, Brighton, BN2 1AP, England

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Mar 02 2002 - 00:00:04 EST