Re: [OPE-L] Value and Exploitation

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sun Oct 23 2005 - 10:28:51 EDT


I'll focus below on what we agree upon.

> It is in my view utterly *myopic* to restrict "exploitation" to the
> appropriation of surplus-value at the point of production, as many
> Marxists do. Contrary to the Marxists, Marx never claimed *anywhere* that
> the exploitation of surplus-labour in production is the *only* kind of
> exploitation there is. Such an interpretation is so crude and mythical,
> that it is totally farcical.

Right.  Wherever there is class society there is class exploitation.  This
does not mean, though, that wherever there is a surplus product there is
also value and surplus value.  There is also oppression as well as
exploitation and  I think that the two should not be conflated (a
general point -- I am not suggesting that you have so conflated them).

> Insofar, however, as you can abolish capitalism without abolishing social
> classes at all, this does not solve the problem at all, and in fact there
> are *worse* forms of exploitation, than capitalist exploitation (e.g.
> slavery, forced labor etc.).


> Simply nationalizing the means of production is not necessarily a solution
> at all - what is required is new *forms of association* and a new
> *morality* for the distribution of resources, based on the principle that
> the balanced development of each is conditional on the balanced
> development of all, and the balanced development of all is conditional on
> the balanced development of each. That is the core of the communist idea,
> and the claim is, that simply giving "equal market access" or "equal
> opportunity" will not provide it.

Agreed again (although I wouldn't put so much emphasis as you do on
"balance"), but that "new morality" does not fall from the sky or result
from the appeals of communist leaders for sacrifice or is imposed as a
matter of law by the "socialist state": it must be rooted in the material
condition of workers and reflect their experiences, understandings and
struggles.  A socialist morality must be _self_-determined.

In solidarity, Jerry

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