[OPE-L:6620] Re: Re: Re: Re: From Andrew Kliman

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 20:28:40 EST

Dear Paul C,
I think it would be more productive if Chris A were to comment on 
your retort here. I think there are still philosophical points that 
need to be worked out in the important critiques by Lebowitz, 
Roosevelt and Shaikh of the fetishism and reification implicit in 
Cambridge economics. I'd have to go back and get a handle on the very 
idea of reification (which Colletti suggests derives not from Marx's 
theory of fetishism but the critical concerns of Bergsonian and 
Simmel's vitalist philosophy).  I have not read Roosevelt's 
dissertation, and I need to study Lukacs' ontolology of labor and 
Dussel's idea of living labor as exteriority. But I don't think 
outputs exist by themselves; inputs have to be transformed into 
outputs, and the very use of the passive voice here points to a 

But I do agree that analysis has to take into account such brute 
material facts as the physical quantity of output. Anti Sraffians 
often compare the idea of a physical surplus, a quantity of things to 
the concept of surplus value as an indicator of an exploitative 
relation in social labor time.  But the surplus does have to be 
analyzed in terms of value and use value, social labor time and 
physical quantity; for while a smaller quantity of the physical 
surplus could have the same value as a greater quantity, the effects 
on the accumulation process would be markedly different. For example, 
if there are more means of production in physical terms, then more 
labor and surplus labor and surplus value can be absorbed in the 
following period.

I think the value theorists are often too anti physicalist in their 
criticisms of neo ricardian theories. Marx's strength was that he 
analyzed the accumulation process in terms of value and use value.

The quantity of the surplus in terms of physical goods matters as 
much as the quantity of the surplus as value (again Grossmann was the 
first to emphasize this). Marx's transformation tables are in fact 
not good at capturing the former side; and in this sense the neo 
Ricardian theory does seem to have an advantage over the Marxist one.



>On Thu, 14 Feb 2002, you wrote:
>>  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.
>Surely analysing technology in terms of use value is exactly what
>is brought out in input output analysis.
>What is this about 'reified technical conditions of production'.
>The technical conditions of production are in no need of
>reification, since they are already very much res in themselves.
>Railways, power plants, factories - you dont get much re-er
>than that. There is nothing mysterious about them, they
>are brute material facts which explain the difference between
>the potential surplus of an industrialised and a non-industrialised
>World dominance rests on these brute facts.
>Paul Cockshott, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland
>0141 330 3125  mobile:07946 476966

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