From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Fri Oct 14 2005 - 00:02:48 EDT
At 11:37 PM -0400 10/13/05, michael a. lebowitz wrote: >Andrew wrote: > >>Michael, as you know surplus value is initially defined as M'-M [ch.4, >>vol. 1]. Prior to this it has been shown that money is the 'appearance >>form' [not just 'form' but '*appearance* form'] of value. After the >>initial definition we do indeed find that M'-M is the 'appearance form' >>of surplus labour. So I guess I'd want to say that surplus value is, >>from the outset, understood to have both visible and invisible aspects >>rather than to counter pose an 'invisible' surplus value to a 'visible' >>set of 'outer' categories (profit, interest, rent). >> >>Would you agree? > > I'm not certain about the significance >you attribute to 'appearance form' vs form. Yes, >capitalist exploitation must take the form of >money. Are you suggesting that this undercuts >the distinction between the inner structure of >capital and the surface phenomena that for Marx >are related as the invisible to the visible? >Recall, eg., the quotes from Vol III: > >>Surplus-value and the rate of surplus-value >>are… the invisible essence to be investigated, >>whereas the rate of profit and hence the form >>of surplus-value as profit are visible surface >>phenomena (Marx, 1981b: 134). >>Profit is ‘the form of appearance of >>surplus-value, and the latter can be sifted out >>from the former only by analysis’ (Marx, 1981b: >>139). Profit is ‘a transformed form of surplus >>value, a form in which its origin and the >>secret of its existence are veiled and >>obliterated.’ Hilferding, Althusser,(OPE-L'er?) Bruce Roberts have all argued that surplus value only exists in its effects, in its appearance forms. They have all accepted Andrew B's point that a hard and fast distinction between invisible essence and visible appearance cannot be drawn. This may seem nonsensical or counter-intuitive (and I don't mean for the Nietzschean reason that everything is appearance, that a multi-layered ontology is a myth; I mean it may seem nonsensical to reject the idea the distinction can be clearly drawn because obviously an appearance has to be of something essential already existing, and thus derivative in some way...simply put essences have to be temporally and logically prior to their respective appearances); I have tried to weaken this common sensical reaction, voiced here by Michael L, through analogies with measurement and collapse in quantum mechanics. I won't burden the list again with my thoughts on this. But for my own reasons I am sympathetic to Andrew's point. Not that he will be happy with that! Rakesh As a ps to this I think Rick Wolff long ago argued that there are interesting similarities between the Austro Marxists and the Althusserians. But on this seeming convergence between Hilferding and Althusser about causes only existing in their effects I don't think there has been been much comment. And pps of course there are important differences between Austro Marxism and Althusserianism. Max Adler's idea of a social a priori, accepted and developed by Lucien Goldmann as transindividuality, would probably be too empty of ideological class conflict to be acceptable to Althusser.
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