Re: [OPE-L] exploitation and abstraction

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Thu Jun 28 2007 - 12:03:05 EDT

--- Michael Schauerte <mikeschauerte@GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> I'm not exactly sure how to respond to Ajit's
> depiction of me, based on a
> few posts, as a Marxist in a sort of religious sense
> as a true believer.
> I'll just say that it seems unfair and sounds
> patronizing. My aim is to
> better understand capitalism and I happen to think
> that a lot can be learned
> from Marx. I don't think the fact Marx wrote in the
> 19th century
> automatically renders it invalid. Shouldn't our
> standard be whether
> something is true or false (or more true or less
> true) rather than if it is
> new or old?
Dear Michael, I was not depicting you in any way nor
trying to be patronizing. I was simply commenting on a
few posts you wrote. To me, they read like pieces from
late 19th century or early 20th century, when
*Capital* could be seen as the apex of political
economy. My point was that in the intervening period,
however, there has been intellectual developments that
show that "surplus value is the essence of profit"
types of statements are not all that sound. When you
ask: where does profit come from? and go on to answer
in Marx's vein that it comes from surplus value etc.
and that classical economists did not understand this
or that. That sort of tells me that you are not being
contemporary. Not only you are not taking the critical
developments on Marxian economics of last 50 or 75
years into account but you are also accepting Marx's
reading of classical economics as the last word on
classical economics. I would be the last person to
argue that something is wrong just because it is
old--in that case why would I be interested in history
of thought? But what I expect is that when you say
that "surplus value" or the "rate of surplus value" is
the essence of profit, you would go on to establish
this proposition and not just assert it on the
assumption that there is no problem with the theory
presented in *Capital*.
> When I said that "I agreed" with you, I was
> responding to your one-sentence
> comment about the importance of consideirng the wage
> in relation to
> surplus-value. I agreed because the theory of the
> wage is related to the
> concept of labor-power which is central to
> understanding surplus-value.
> Perhaps you could elaborate on your idea and then I
> will be able to respond.
What I was suggesting is not a well developed idea,
but is a sort of an experimentation. If we could ask,
where does profit come from and proceed to find its
origin in rate of surplus value; why not ask the same
question about wages and see where it leads us to. May
be we could get a good sense of the nature of the
problem this way. Cheers, ajit sinha

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