[OPE-L:6584] Re: Re: From Andrew Kliman

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Thu Feb 14 2002 - 16:07:29 EST

I can't see what in Skillman's 6519 could be taken as grounds for a 
lawsuit since he seemed not be discussing the case but interpreting 
the RRPE apology. I think Kliman already has enough problems 
challenging  the technicist and static assumptions that have been 
smuggled into radical thought from the bourgeois worldview in the 
name of rigor and science.  Not much has changed in the last one 
hundred years in terms of the obstacles that a strictly proletarian 
based theory must confront, as Alejandro's recent posts indicate.

Science, technology, and favorable natural conditioss are all not 
independent sources of value but they do give an independent force to 
accumulation by increasing the productivity of labor in use value or 
technical terms. After all,  the greater the productivity of labor, 
the lower the unit values of wage goods and thus the greater the 
production of relative surplus value. The greater the productivity of 
labor, the greater in quantity the means of production and thus the 
greater the capitalist ability to "employ" a greater number of 
workers and thus extract a greater mass of surplus labor and surplus 
value. By laying bare  proletarian labor as the exclusive source of 
value and surplus value from which all non wage income is derived, 
Marx does not deny that science and technology matter very much as to 
the magnitude of the extorted surplus value.

I think we can best account for the role of science and technology by 
analyzing them in terms of use value and value rather than by 
building science and technology into reified technical conditions of 
production which are then somehow mysteriously themselves made the 
source of a maximum potential surplus conceived solely in physical or 
use value terms.

I think the neo Ricardians hoped to find a third way that would 
escape the fetishization of capital and the fetishization of 
proletarian labor. They wanted to be radical, but it seemed obvious 
that the wealth of nations does not depend first and foremost on 
proletarian labor force at the command of capital.  If it did, then 
India should be the wealthiest of all nations, not America.

I think this idea was more important in sustaining the neo Ricardian 
critique than the problem of reducing fixed capital to dated labor.

  But as Michael Lebowitz noted long ago, they have ended up 
fetishizing science and technology. Marx's analysis is in fact two 
sided and dialectical while the alternative is one sidedly technical.

At any rate,  it's probably wrong to imagine politics undergirds 
Kliman's latest legal forays when in fact all we have here is a 
personal grudge match? The more I think about it, the more likely it 
seems. And Kliman seems to me here petty and mean spirited to have 
threatened legal action. I think he should retract the threat.

Let me say that I have been quite bothered by my exchanges with 
Skillman; he does not seem to me to be a person willing to admit that 
his Marx criticism is wrong even when no one else agrees with him. He 
blames others for not understanding him, and when he is understood, 
he won't even admit to that because it's incomprehensible to him that 
someone who understands him could think he's on to no real logical 
problem and on to nothing of signficance.   Of course Skillman does 
not a pay a price for this very stubborn anti Marx attitude even on 
this list. He will not be proven wrong not ever, not once--not on 
this matter of the irrelevance and illogic of Marx's value theory. 
So he's in a fight with Kliman. How could it be otherwise?


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