FROP (was is value labor)

From: rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU
Date: Sun May 11 2003 - 13:04:15 EDT

I had written (though now corrected)

>   Yet not quite sure at all what to make of
> the attempts to introduce  virtuality into traditional ontology; not
> sure whether the concept of virtuality helps in any way to clarify
> Marx's sense of the... reality of his laws of tendency.
> __________

Howard replied:

As I understand it, Rakesh, the rest of your post answers the
posed -- without speaking to the way in which the philosophers
you mention
use the precise term "virtuality," if you start with a "things with
ontology, then you need the actual/latent distinction because
powers may
exist unexercised.  My friend has the power to see, but just now her
are closed.


Yet as Hans suggested the law of the tendency of the rate of profit
to fall is not unexercised even when it it is not actual. It has more
effective reality than a potential or possibility for actualization. It is
not a dormant power. Neither the possible/real nor the
potential/actual couplet will  allow us--it seems to me--to capture
Marx's meaning which Hans captures well. What, then, is the
mode of reality of the effective and dynamic law of the tendency of
the rate of profit to fall? It seems to me more than a possibility
because its non actuality may well be the result of the very forces
which it has effectively called forth (a devaluation of constant
capital by way of crisis or the export of capital into new branches of
low organic composition or higher rates of surplus value)?  What
does the virtual modality meant by Bergson entail? Can it be made
helpful in any way in capturing Marx's meaning? Probably not as
for Bergson the virtual mode is postulated mainly (as I understand
it) to make sense of psychological, not social, dynamics.

Yet the question remains of how to characterize the mode of reality
implied by Han's description of the law of the tendency for the rate
of profit to fall? If does not have a virtual reality, then what kind of
reality does it have?

The need for an answer is urgent as the inability to appreciate fully
the contradictions of capitalist production and the consequent
formulation of revisionist programmes begin after all with a denial
of any mode of reality for the law of the tendency of the rate of profit
to fall! It will be noted that in Sweezy's and Robinson's evaluation
of Marx's crisis theory no reality of any kind is accorded (it seems
to me) to the law of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall.

Yours, Rakesh

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