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? Gary -----Original Message----- From: OPE-L on behalf of Ian Wright Sent: Tue 10/23/2007 6:59 PM To: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU Cc: 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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