Re: [OPE-L] if a six turned out to be nine

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Tue Oct 03 2006 - 19:02:20 EDT

Wages are often paid after performance of labor but before commodity
output actually sold. Wages or variable capital thus appears to be
advanced. Marx turns that on its head in chs 23-4 of Capital I. Not
sure whether Sraffian theory can do that--that is, admit the
appearance that wages are advanced and then dissolve that appearance
from the perspective of the reproduction of capital. Not sure how and
when the distributional struggle over the net product is to appear,
and not sure Sraffian theory can show how in the light of
reproduction workers are creating the means for their own domination.
Any comment on this potential comparison appreciated.

>OK, thanks for your comments. Grossman does refer to speculation, financial
>assets etc. However the point is that if the value of assets existing
>external to the sphere of production grows larger than those inside it, then
>any analysis of the accumulation of capital which focuses only on the
>composition of current production capital (C+V+S) is at best very

HG did not concentrate only on production capital. He examines
rationalization of circulation capital, the struggle against ground
rent and speculation.

At any rate, I think my point holds about how Marx's economic science
makes sense only in the light of expanded reproduction. Makoto Itoh
challenges HG here because he says that the theory expanded
reproduction has little to do with foreign trade, ground rent and
wage labour so there is no reason to believe Marx's working out a
theory of expanded reproduction would have allowed him to encompass
the missing books. But that is of course exactly what Marx
did--encompass  the theory of the exploitation of free wage labour
under the theory of simple and expanded reproduction (see chaps 23
and 24 of Capital volume I). If Smith and Ricardo had thought through
reproduction it would have become obvious to them what the character
of variable capital was, that is it may well have become obvious to
them that the labor fund was simply an allotment by the capitalist
class out the surplus value which workers had created in the previous
period (with the original capital having been dissipated through
their own consumption) . This is why they dare not match the audacity
of the Physiocrats. It should also be clear that Marx has
considerably and brilliantly developed the theory of exploitation in
these chapters beyond their original articulation in chs 4-6. I get
excited every time I rediscover how exactly brilliant Marx was.
It still seems to me that Grossman made a breakthrough not simply in
crisis theory but in methodology.
I think Makoto has not at all understood the power of HG's analysis.
Nor do I think has even his defender Tribe.


ps we can discuss why Marx did not write or incorporate the book on
the state. Here I think we'll need to understand how theoretical
considerations were motivated in part by the battle with anarchists
with their anti state fetishism.

>Grossman's analysis could no doubt be expanded though, to take
>account of this reality.

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