Re: [OPE-L] Complex ... and the French edition of capital

From: Anders Ekeland (anders.ekeland@ONLINE.NO)
Date: Thu Jun 07 2007 - 18:05:14 EDT

Let me just repeat/rephrase my main arguments:

As I see it that without the word "production" the textual support
for treating complex labour the same way as a machine whose price is
determined by labour cost has considerably less textual support. It
also stands in contraditicion to other passages where Marx treats
this issue. The phrase "plus difficile a former" does not mention
production, does not mention "costs" directly.

But the most important is that the labour producing gold is put at
center stage - what relation do that have to eductation costs? By
introducing "a special kind of labour" we are back to the many
indications that Marx saw wages as a rough - but due to the
persistence of opinions turning them in to prejudices/illusions
(blosse Illusionen) a often misleading indicator. Marx also
favourably quotes in Capital I John Cazenove who states that a
special kind of labour is chosen as a benchmark - and when that is
done - the reduction coefficients are easy to find.

Of course Hilferdings argument stands on its own ground, but
Hilferding tried to make Marx consistent, so what Marx actually wrote
was very important to him. This not the least indicated by the famous
"daher" versus "aber" discussion between Hilferding and Bernstein,
where Hilferding argued that if Marx had intended to make a
connection between value creating ability and wages he would have
used "daher" not "aber". Unfortunately for Hilferding - Engels had
used "daher" in the 4th German edition of Das Kapital. (See
Rosdolskys treatment of this in "The Making of Marx Capital"

There are several serious objections to the "production" of complex
labour which I regrettably have not time to go into, but they are
outlined in Makoto Itohs book, Ian Steedman has also several valid
points against it in his articles on the subject.


At 12:57 06.06.2007, you wrote:
>  Anders:
>In my opinion the French version seriously
>weakens the textual support for the
>Hilferding/Okishio/Rowthorn "whose production has
>cost more labour" - that is the "education cost"
>solution to the labour reduction problem.
>Why do you think that?
>There is no coherent argument in the French edition against Hilferdings
>Whether Hilferding was right or wrong stands on the merits of
>Hilferding's argument not on what Marx said, unless Marx makes a
>specific rebutall of the idea that the labour cost of educating workers
>enters into the labour cost of what these workers themselves produce. As
>far as I can see Marx makes no such contrary argument.

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