[OPE-L:8079] Re: Re: the 'starting point'

From: Tony Tinker (TonyTinker@msn.com)
Date: Wed Nov 27 2002 - 13:25:13 EST

Jerry:  The only idea of "ordering" that I intended was her notion of
dominance of abstract labor (I was writing without the text in front of me).

I would normally reserve the term "technocratic" as descriptive of (say
accounting) approaches that are oblivious to the social (conflictual)
underpinnings of 'real' phenomenon, rather than giving 'pride of place to
quantitative figuring' .  CPA practice exhibit the same ragbag of
ambiguities of consciousness as the remainder of the population (e.g, they
include critical accountants) and thus I would be loathed to brand their
figuring as technocratic.  This would be a form of reductionism.

Yes, we should look to capitalism as the only culprit for existence (but it
is a serious contender).

Regards, TT

> Re Tony T's [8068]:
> > First, the relevant  passages from Diane Elson's article "The Value
> > Theory of Labor" begin around  p. 144+ in VALUE: THE
> > London: 1979).  She describes four aspects of labor (abstract v
> > social v private)  as potentia ".... which can never exist on their own
> > determinate forms of labour.... Marx concludes that in capitalist
> > the abstract aspect is dominant" (p.149).
> That's the section I looked at again after  your previous post [8054] in
> search of 'ordering' and 'conditions'.  I still don't quite get your point
> about Elson's perspective on 'ordering', although, I do see why this
> discussion would remind you of her article:  e.g. some of her comments
> of relevance to our discussion with Mike E include:
> * (In relation to Cutler et al) "Essentially a *rationalist* method, it
> assumes that the phenomena of the material world are like the symbols of
> arithmetic and formal logic, separate and self-bounded and relate to each
> other in the same way. This is not Marx's method: his theory of value is
> constructed on rationalist lines" (p. 131);
> * "The quantity of socially necessary labbour-time does not determine the
> magnitude of value in the logical or mathematical sense of an independent
> variable determining a dependent variable, (or in the sense of defining
> meaning of the term 'magnitude of value'), but in the sense that the
> quantity of a chemical substance in its fluid form determines the
> of its crystalline or jellied form.  There is a continuity as well as a
> difference between what determines and what is determined." (p. 133);
> * "The method of analysis appropriate for analysing historical process is
> not the mathematical-logical method of specifying independent and
> dependent variables, and their relation.  Such a method can only
> identify static structures, and is forced to pose a qualitative change as
> a sudden discontinuity, a quantum leap between structures: and not as
> a process, a qualitatively changing continuum." (p. 141).
> > 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:
> > 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
> > experience.
> Would you say that this is a 'technocratic' perspective on the subsumption
> of labor?   I do not direct that question in relation to CPAs as such  but
> rather at a social perspective which gives pride of place to quantitative
> figuring.
> > 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
> > 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
> > (and thus this version of class struggle) is an important component of
> > daily  life; but importantly, so are consciousness, culture, ideology,
> > sociability.  Here resides (for writers like Adorno) the possibilities
> > transcendence.
> Does Marx's analysis concern the constitution of daily life under
> capitalism?  Well -- yes and ....  To the extent that there are aspects of
> daily life that are systematically related to the essential character of
> capitalism, then  yes.  To the extent that there are aspects of daily life
> which are entirely  *contingent*, then some of those aspects fall beyond
> the scope of the subject matter (capitalism).
> In solidarity, Jerry

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