[OPE-L] who's responding to whom

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed Dec 06 2006 - 12:12:49 EST

I know there have been many loud proclamations about how my posts
should be sent to the junk box and pleas that I should be ignored.
But we see a clear movement here from an incorrect interpretation of
Marx's argument to a better one; and in that gap there were my
putatively ignored posts challenging the flawed original formulations.

So let's look at this exchange:

>Ajit wrote:
>>Now, the proposition
>>Marx is making is not that empirically profits and
>>surplus labor are observed to go together but rather
>>the *cause* of profit lies in surplus labor. This
>>proposition is simply asserted but never proved by
>Again this is not what Marx intended to do as any reading of the
>first six chapters of
>Capital I should make clear. Marx *deduces* that *cause*; he does not
>directly prove it or assert it!
>If value regulates price, then the difference in the monetary
>expression of C' and C in the circuit of capital (M-C-P-C'-M')  must
>have resulted the appropriation of unpaid labor time.

Then Ajit later submitted this correction of his view a few days later:
>  Before Marx no political economist had a good
>theory of profit (except for taking surplus as gift of
>nature). It is Marx's great originality that he tries
>to develop a proper theory of profit determination (an
>originality for which Marx is not given proper credit
>because of Marx influenced reading of Ricardo). Now to
>do so, Marx first develops a so-called theory of value
>where commodities are supposed to exchange according
>to their labor content. From this proposition he
>derives a particular exchange relation of real wages
>with labor-power and discovers the source of surplus
>production in surplus labor. Then this surplus labor
>so derived from the equal value exchange proposition
>is used to develop the rate of profit.

And even before this correction, I had already submitted this
implicit challenge to Ajit's understanding of the logic of Marx's
argument upon readmission to this list.

>Please let us remember that Marx did not derive the labor theory of
>value from his explanation of
>surplus value, defined as M'-M. In that sense surplus value was
>recognized long before Marx; the question of course is whether it was
>buried by neoclassical economics as Joan Robinson complained often
>and vociferously.
>  Marx's explanation of the persistence of the surplus value value
>presupposes the labor theory of value, for on that basis--as well as
>Gil's favorite assumption of price value equivalence--Marx reasons
>that capital considered here as a perfect aliquot of the whole cannot
>have paid for labor time actually expended.
>What did it then purchase--the worker's ability to perform labor...We
>all know the story...If the labor theory of value is true, then that
>ability must have a lesser value than the value added by expenditure
>of labor. And indeed input output analysis confirms that as true--as
>even the critic Meghnad Desai himself underlines. Of course that does
>not resolve the question of exploitation because the wage could
>represent full payment for labor performed,  discounted in terms of
>labor's present time preference.  The problem here is a fetishization
>of time which is of course better than its elimination.

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