[OPE-L:7734] the theory of surplus value and magnitude (with a btw on VFT)

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Mon Sep 30 2002 - 19:35:42 EDT

Re Fred's [7728]:

> This demonstration of the reality of
> exploitation behind the surface appearance of an equal exchange involves
> the quantitative relation between the money value- added produced by
> workers and the money wages they are paid,

Involves, yes.

> and therefore requires a
> quantitative theory of value and surplus-value.

At the risk of being accused of being picky,  I would say rather that his
theories of value and surplus value (necessarily) contain an analysis of
both quality and quantity.  In other words, it is not that Marx had a
qualitative theory of value and surplus value and a quantitative theory
of  value and surplus value.  Rather, the analysis of qualitative relations
is integrated with a quantitative analysis within a *unified theory*.

I agree with your comments on "equality"  (not shown above). I would
add the following:  through the assumption of equal exchange, Marx
was able to show that surplus-value does not arise because of
"cheating" on the part of  some "bad" capitalists.  In other words he
rejected and implicitly critiqued in _Capital_ the liberal perspective
that greed on the part of individual capitalists is the cause of
exploitation.   This was important to Marx for political reasons since
if exploitation is due to cheating by some capitalists then it can at least
be potentially reformed away. In contrast, the theory of surplus value
which ultimately holds that _all_  s and profit is based on class
exploitation has clear revolutionary implications.

> How could there be a
> "qualitative" theory of class exploitation in capitalism without a
> quantitative theory of class exploitation?  I don't see why one of these
> is primary and the other secondary.  They seem to me to be the same
> question.

I am pleased to read that you now recognize that the "quantitative theory"
is NOT THE PRIMARY QUESTION.  Unlike [7723] -- where you asserted
that the "primary question"  is the question of surplus value which "is a
quantitative question"  and that "all that matters about surplus value is
its quantity or magnitude" -- you now reject a perspective that holds either
the "quantitative theory" or  "qualitative theory" to be primary.   I am
pleased that you have revised your prior statements.  We are accordingly
less far apart in terms of our interpretation of the theory of surplus value
than  it appeared after [7723].

btw -- reading between the lines -- I am now pleased to read that
you MUST reject the oft-stated perspective that VALUE-FORM
OF SURPLUS VALUE.  This MUST be the case since clearly VFT,
in all shades and colors,  incorporates an analysis of the MONEY-FORM,
and hence MAGNITUDE, in its analysis of surplus-value. Hence
the charge that for VFT surplus value is a "metaphor" must necessarily
be rejected.

> Jerry, I am glad that you emphasize the CLASS nature of Marx's theory of
> surplus-value, which suggests that Marx's theory of surplus-value is about
> the TOTAL surplus-value produced by the working class as a whole, not to
> the surplus-value produced by individual groups of workers.

Yet, that is a subject in its own right ... of some importance to the
working class.  Where is the  systematic analysis in _Capital_ of that

In solidarity, Jerry

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