[OPE-L:8268] Re: Milios, et al, "Karl Marx and the Classics"

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@buffalo.edu)
Date: Thu Jan 02 2003 - 13:29:59 EST

Yes, Jerry, it counts as a review, albeit not a detailed one.  Thanks,
including for pointing out the ad hominem against Althusser (an incorrect
one at that, if one just reads what 'murder' means). 

There are some problems.  

I. The review reads the authors as pointing out Ricardo vs. Marx: "Whereas
for Ricardo value was an empirically observable phenomenon that could be
measured directly in terms of the amount of socially necessary labour-time
needed to produce it from start to finish, for Marx value was an intangible
social relation and which would exist under any economic system".  

While the Milios et al book does indeed say that value is non-measurable,
it does NOT say that value would exist under any system, rather exists only
under a system of production by abstract labor, i.e., capitalism: "value is
a manifestation of the structural characteristics of the capitalist mode of
production and not a manifestation of labor in general.... Marx insisted
that value is an expression of relations exclusively characteristic of the
capitalist mode of production" (p. 18).  The book is correct.

II. The review says that "Volume I of Capital was carefully edited and seen
to publication by Marx himself" while the Grundrisse, Vol. 2 and 3, and
Theories of S.V. were edited by Engels from notes of Marx; therefore, the
review says Vol. 1 must take precedence.  I rather agree with this, but
neither the book nor the review highlight the CHANGES Marx did through his
own three editions of Vol. 1, changes which could be argued to sustain an
interpretation of Marx moving somewhat closer to Ricardo as he moves again
from Hegelian language.

The book claims support for its overall argument by saying that the first
seven pages of Capital, Volume 1, are thoroughly Ricardian but the next
100+ pages *theoretically recast* those first pages (p. 17).  i) But, it
seems to me, a thorough argument would have to contend with the fact that
Part I of Volume 1 borrowed extensively from the "Contribution" and we'd
have to see if the CHANGES between the "Contribution" (1859) and "Part I"
(1867 and later) moved in the direction consistent with book's argument. 
Given that the book itself actually says that Marx moved CLOSER to Ricardo
in the mid-1860s; perhaps the latter CHANGES would REINFORCE seeing Marx
moving closer to Ricardo as he increasingly matures.  The review misses
this problem. ii) And, if the first seven pages of Volume 1 are supposed to
be thoroughly Ricardian, with value defined on the fourth page, why didn't
Marx, on the eighth page, call the reader's attention to his project of
'theoretically recasting' of that supposedly Ricardian value?  

III.  There are other issues such as the falling tendency of the rate of
profit which I don't want to get into.  But I will mention that neither the
review nor the book emphasize that constitution of labor power as a concept
quite distinct from Ricardo.  Both seem more interested in profit rates and
individual commodity pricing, than the exchange value of labor power. 
Thus, the book notices Marx in Vol. 3 on the transformation problem as a
manifestation to his sliding toward Ricardo.  

But neither the book nor the review deals with a 'simpler' problem -- the
total working day of the workers compared to the time required to produce
subsistence needs.  Why cannot we call this a legitimate 'value'
calculation which is quite observable?

I notice the John Milios is on this list, but not the other two authors. 
But I don't recall Milios participating (or did I miss him?).


P.S. The book is rather complimentary of Rosa Luxemburg's Marxism (p. 213,
fn. 6), but misinterprets her *Accumulation of Capital* in a number of
respects, such as its being an 'underconsumption' argument.

"Confronting 9-11, Ideologies of Race, and Eminent Economists", Vol. 20
RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY,  Paul Zarembka, editor, Elsevier Science
******************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

"gerald_a_levy" <gerald_a_levy@msn.com> said, on 01/01/03:

>Re Paul Z's [8261]:

>> Has anyone seen a review of Milios, Dimoulis, and Economakis, "Karl Marx
>> and the Classics" (Ashgate, 2002, Hampshire, England, and Burlington, VT)?

>Does the following count?


>Published online by the Socialist Party of Great Britain.  Reviewer is not
>identified by name.  Note ad hominem remarks on Althusser in last

>In solidarity, Jerry

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