[OPE-L:8270] Re: Milios, et al, "Karl Marx and the Classics"

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Fri Jan 03 2003 - 09:49:01 EST

Some comments on Paul Z's [8268]:

> 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".

I think the problem here must be with the review rather than the book itself
since the above is not correct on three grounds:

(1) the concept of SNLT was not Ricardian.  Or at the very least,
Ricardo's comprehension of what the SN in SNLT represented was
different from Marx's understanding;

(2)  Marx did not view value as an "intangible social relation".   Even if
one challenges whether value is measurable (as Milios et al apparently do)
it does not follow that the social relation itself is intangible; and

(3) as you point out, for Marx (and Milios and yourself) value is  (quoting
you quoting Milios et al)  'an expression of relations exclusively
characteristic of the  capitalist mode of production' (p. 18)."

> 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;  (snip, JL)

Small point:  Of the above, only the drafts for what became Volumes 2 and 3
were edited and prepared for publication by Engels.

> 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?

Marx frequently gave no clear blueprint of his intentions in _Capital_.
So, I don't think that a 'why didn't Marx write that...' type of question
is very revealing.   This is not to say that the question itself shouldn't
be asked, it's just that I don't think it tells us much about the issue one
way or the other.

> 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?

That gets us back to the question of whether value is a relation
"exclusively characteristic of the capitalist mode of production".  If one
_only_ looks at  the division of the working day as above, then one might
view value as being trans-historical.

In solidarity, Jerry

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