[OPE-L:7777] Re: "Hic Rhodus, hic salta!"

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Wed Oct 09 2002 - 09:36:22 EDT

Re Riccardo's [7773]:

I didn't really understand (i) well so I'll pass on to:

> (ii) the second is the fact that surplus value, though coming out 
> from production, is actualised as such ONLY in circulation 
> (actualised: not created).


> I may suggest - but it's it a provocation - that while Marx's 
> sequence is (rightly) from creation of potential surplus value in 
> production to its actualisation in production, in ACTUAL life what's 
> happen is that firms produce for the market, so it is demand the 
> driving force. which I do not see as something against Marx: provided 
> he is read with an open mind.

If by "ACTUAL life", you mean actual life in _today's_ capitalist social
formations,  then I would suggest a different dynamic:  to the extent
that (as a consequence of the concentration and centralization of capital)
markets are increasingly dominated by *oligopolies*  where there is a
high degree of product differentiation,  then the reverse is the case.
I.e.  rather than responding to demand in the marketplace, the oligopolies
use (essentially, as part of their product differentiation strategy) 
advertising and marketing to *create*  (individual and market) demand 
for their commodities. Thus, rather than consumer preferences being 
exogenous (as assumed in marginal utility theory and the doctrine of 
consumer sovereignty), business firms play a large role in shaping 
consumer preferences.

This is not only a different historical period than that in which Marx
lived but it is also at a level of abstraction which is certainly more
concrete than that of Volume 1.  In any event, this was not a subject
that Marx probed to any great extent.  There are some contemporary
Marxists, such as Ben Fine, who have investigated the nature of
consumption more. And, of course, there is a large Post-Keynesian 
literature on oligopolies (and some writings by Marxists as well, e.g. 
by Willi Semmler).

Hic Rhodus, hic salta?

In solidarity, Jerry

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