Re: [OPE-L] SV: [OPE-L] what is irrational in the functioning of capitalism?

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Fri Dec 01 2006 - 00:17:52 EST

>Hi Ajit
>OK let's cut to the chase as you suggest.
>Marx's theory of value implies the proposition that there is no profit
>without surplus labour. It's logically possible that there is profit
>without surplus labour. Hence Marx's theory of value is wrong.
>My theory of horses implies the proposition that they don't talk. It's
>logically possible that horses can talk. Therefore my theory of horses
>is wrong.
>This is not much of a critique is it?
>There's a reason why horses don't talk, and there's a reason we don't
>find profits without surplus-labour. My talk of dynamic trajectories
>and the intertwined historical emergence of universal labour and the
>value-form, which you're not interested in, is an attempt to explain
>why your logical possibility cannot be an actual possibility.
>You raise other issues that I'd like to comment on (unfeasibly large
>rates of surplus-value and robot labour), but I'll follow your example
>and stick to one issue at a time.

Hi Ian,

I think Pack and others are missing the point. It's not metaphysical
that society has
to solve problems in the quantitative and qualitative allocation of
the labor time available to it. Ajit is dealing with another
problem--the distribution of a surplus of use values. This problem
logically and temporally follows upon solving the problem of  the
quantitative and qualitative allocation of labor time.

In a capitalist society people relate to each other through
commodities. Said allocation problems
can only be solved by the imputation of value to commodities through
which social relations are mediated and responses to the price
differentials from those respective values. Value regulates price
though in a mediated and distorted way.  For this reason the price
form is a hieroglyph.

As long as society has commodity relations of production value will
however regulate price.  As long as value is regulating price it's
possible that  an ever greater surplus of use values will not
represent an ever greater absolute sum of surplus value. This is what
Freeman and Kliman have shown even against the interesting objections
of David Laibman who is not reading this message.

If society did not have commodity relations of production value need
not regulate prices, the inter-temporal changes in the aggregate
prices of outputs and inputs and thus profits.

Marx's law of value applies to a society which must solve the problem
of the allocation of labor time in the context of  the mediation of
social relations of production by commodities.

A fully automated economy has no such problem; the law of value need
not and in fact could not regulate economic magnitudes.


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