[OPE-L:7936] unequal exchange and poverty in African countries

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Wed Nov 06 2002 - 13:41:12 EST

>Re Alejandro's [7917]:
>  > I agree with Paul: in general unequal exchange is a misleading 
>discussion. Amin and Emannuel  did several mistakes. By example, 
>Emannuel ignored the tendency to sell  products at similar prices in 
>world markets despite huge differences in productivitys.

But couldn't this mean that the high productivity nation is selling 
at a price above its individual value while the low productivity 
nation is selling at a price below its individual value?
That's the possibility Carchedi explores through the formation of 
concepts such as individual and social value (Carchedi's theory reads 
to me as a development of Bauer's and Grossmann's simple ideas on 
this question). Why can't there be a redistribution of value in 
circulation? What role is played by exchange rates? This certainly 
does not imply that the lion's share of the value redistributed to 
the high productivity nation ends up in the hands of the mass of its 
working class, thereby turned en masse into a conservative labor 
aristocracy. Wasn't it the putative political implication of unequal 
exchange theory which led many Marxists to reject any form of it as 
There is also the problem that the goods traded between the North and 
the South are non competing (I think Carchedi tends to downplay this 
structural aspect of international trade), and Marx did  entertain 
the possibility that the kind of agro-mineral exports from colonies 
would systematically tend to exchange below value. I had to return to 
the library Enrique Dussel's book on the Unknown Marx, ed. Fred 
Moseley, but if I remember correctly, Dussel has collected Marx's 
passages on this--the most important being (I believe) in Theories of 
Surplus Value.
Yours, Rakesh

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