[OPE-L:7787] Re: Re: "Hic Rhodus, hic salta!"

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Thu Oct 10 2002 - 06:45:35 EDT

At 9:36 -0400 9-10-2002, gerald_a_levy wrote:
>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 Galbraith (more or less), right? it's OK to me.

you are right, actual life was too short, I meant 'actual', answering 
to Fred, as, say, a theoretical description of the actual working of 
a capitalist economy in general. now, here I would say that 
Robinson's way of putting things is right, that in capitalism workers 
are exploited because their firms have good reasons to expect an 
adequate amount of effective demand on the market, and effective 
demand is driven ( la Keynes) by autonomous demand. in this I find 
something which was foreign (as the micro-macro distinction) to Marx, 
but which is quite compatible with his labour theory of value and 
theory of capitalist development. IMHO

>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.

on this you are quite right. but as I don't think that contemporary 
capitalism has done away with Marx's value and surplus value etc, I 
don't think it has done away with Keynes diistinction between 
autonomous and effective demand (or Schumpeterian finance and dynamic 
competition, etc.).

>  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?

why not?


Riccardo Bellofiore
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
Via dei Caniana 2
I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
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