[OPE-L:8068] Re:

From: Tony Tinker (tonytinker@msn.com)
Date: Tue Nov 26 2002 - 19:28:07 EST


Excuse me for not reprinting your original comments.  I've moved to my home
machine (and library) and am working from a hard copy, First, the relevant
passages from Diane Elson's article "The Value Theory of Labor" begin around
London: 1979).  She describes four aspects of labor (abstract v concrete,
social v private)  as potentia ".... which can never exist on their own as
determinate forms of labour.... Marx concludes that in capitalist society
the abstract aspect is dominant" (p.149).

Two aspects of this are pertinent to the current discussion: First, the
dominance of this quantitative aspect of labor is integral to the pessimism
of writers like Horkheimer and Adorno, who regard quantification and
calculability as an important factor in the self-subversion of the
enlightenment (and the everpresent possibility of regression into
barbarism).  And this is why all Marxists should become CPA's: accounting is
the advanced technology of this calculability.  Figuring -- about
profitability, accumulation, investment patterns, resource allocation etc --
orchestrates the subsumption of labor, and therefore the realm of

Second,  notwithstanding Elson's observation as to the "dominance" of
abstract labor, her main thesis -- as indicated by the title of her book --
is that the purpose of Marx's analysis concerns the constitution of daily
life under capitalism  (This contrasts with the neo-classical agenda of
price determination, as well as that of some brands of economistic Marxism).
Clearly income distribution / price determination/  wage / profit division
(and thus this version of class struggle) is an important component of daily
life; but importantly, so are consciousness, culture, ideology, and
sociability.  Here resides (for writers like Adorno) the possibilities for

I am not so clear about the status of Marx's 6 Volume plan in all of this,
and how this plan might have been radically revised as a result of adopting
the commodity as the starting point.. Marx clearly did dwell at some length
on resolving on a suitable starting point (which in part, meant developing
Hegel's dialectic beyond Hegel).  Volume 1 might be seen as the beginning of
a radical restructuring of project that may have rendered the original plan
obsolete (although now I'm speaking about matters that others are much
better equipped to discuss).


Tony Tinker
Professor and Co-Editor
Critical Perspectives on Accounting
The Accounting Forum
Baruch College at the City University of New York
Box B12-236
17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
Email: TonyTinker@msn.com
Tel: 646-312-3175
Fax: 646-312-3161
Critical Perspectives Conference:

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