Re: [OPE-L] What is most important in Marx's theory?

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sun Mar 11 2007 - 14:19:13 EDT

>I don't see nothing more active than capital in
production processes.

I am also baffled by this statement. How are capital goods or
capitalists active or activated in the production process? Capital
goods are active, activated iff the social relations of labor have
been organized through the quantitative and qualitative allocation of
social labor time which then allows social labor to use what it has
already produced and to produce more productively what it is using to
engage in self-constraining production, i.e. production which enables
itself to be continuous.

  Of course capitalists are active in the sense of getting the
greatest possible expenditure of labor time, but who has ever denied

Why was Marx wrong to dismiss all that palaver about proving value
and to say that given the mediation of social relations by
commodities their exchange value simply had to be understood in terms
of how they allowed society to organize the social relations of
labor. Obviously if price was not a groping function of value as
differential productivity growth and shifting demand patters
unsettled any extant division of labor, then society would likely not
be able to meet the nature imposed necessity of organizing the
division of labor.

And if that was not proof enough of the labor theory of value, then
certainly Marx thought it as Postone has put it retroactively
validated by the tendencies he was able to explain on its basis.

Given the advantages of first mover mechanization and the nature of
their accounting capitalists lose sight of the relation between price
and value, but that relation is obvious or at least sensible upon
Even if we live in a world of epistemological uncertainty there seems
no obvious knock out punch to the labor theory of value.  Neither
Bohm Bawerk nor Bortkiewicz, neither Sraffa nor Samuelson has
delivered it.

But they thought that they could do just that through the normal
science of logic and puzzle solving in regards to unequal
compositions, aggregation and invariable measures, and this self
delusive view of normal science is what undwrites the description of
the labor theory of value as unscientific especially by Samuelson.

But there is no ineluctability here, there is no gross insult to
science in holding to the labor theory of value.  There is no theory
of value more scientific than the Marxian one. Judgments will have to
be made among the uncertain alternatives.

And given reasonable bases for judgments I don't see what the
Sraffian alternative has to recommend itself.

On the other hand, I can pick up a book by David Harvey ( a
geographer alas) and win much insight into the nature of capitalism.


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