Re: [OPE-L] Incoherence of the TSSI - consensus?

From: Gary Mongiovi (MONGIOVG@STJOHNS.EDU)
Date: Thu Oct 25 2007 - 17:19:38 EDT

But you're presuming that exploitation HAS a quantitative substance, and that it is useful to talk about that quantitative dimension. You're also assuming that value has some intrinsic "substance"--that it must be something more than the ratios at which goods may be exchanged for one other. 
Disagreements about what is just ought to hinge on ethical premises, not on differences about how the world objectively works--though of course it is not always easy to keep the two things separate. You refer to the use of value theories to justify some position or another on economic justice. When neoclassical economists claim that markets produce just outcomes because they remunerate resource owners at rates corresponding to productive contributions, they are making a number of mistakes. They are assuming that remuneration according to productive contribution is just; they are assuming that the mere ownership of a productive resource creates a claim in justice on the whatever value that resource generates. But is it any different to attach the label "exploitation" to one of the preconditions for profit? 
-----Original Message----- 
From: OPE-L on behalf of Ian Wright 
Sent: Tue 10/23/2007 6:59 PM 
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Incoherence of the TSSI - consensus?

	Gary, without a theory of economic value that relates monetary
	magnitudes to some substance of value, the quantitative extent of
	exploitation cannot even be discussed or measured. This is one
	substantive difference between the Marxist and surplus-school approach
	to exploitation, since the latter lacks any theory of value.
	I agree that it is a `simple fact' that a cake gets divided between
	classes. We don't need theory to make this observation. But your claim
	that capitalists are nonproductive, and that this division therefore
	represents an injustice, begs the question. As you know, theories of
	economic value have traditionally been employed to affirm or deny
	this. For example, Marx talks of uncovering the "secret" of capitalist
	profit by using the LTV to demonstrate what capitalist profits
	actually represent, their true 'substance'.
	I have trouble imagining how it is possible to objectively discuss
	distributional justice without a theory of economic value. Otherwise
	we have different classes with their contending claims, all of which
	are 'simply one way to look at what is going on'.

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