Re: [OPE-L] Lawrence Krader on objective and subjective value

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Sun Nov 11 2007 - 17:01:16 EST

--- Ian Wright <wrighti@ACM.ORG> wrote:

> > Jurriaan, I think you did not understand what I
> was
> > trying to say. Let's say I claim that "I always
> lie".
> > Now if this statement is true then I have
> obviously
> > contradicted myself, because I have apparently
> made a
> > statement which is not a lie. And if it is not
> true
> > then still I have contradicted myself because what
> I
> > stated is not true. This is the kind of problem
> Marx's
> > (or at least an interpretation of) historical
> > materialism falls into. If historical materialism
> is
> > true then it cannot escape its own historicity and
> if
> > it claims to be universally true (as it does) then
> its
> > claim to universality stands in contradiction to
> its
> > own theoretical claim. One aspect of Marx's
> writing is
> > quite prophetic in nature. He seem to sit on a
> hill
> > top looking down at ordinary folks in the
> > valley--commenting on how little they can see
> given
> > their circumstances etc. whereas he, of course,
> sits
> > on a previledged position from which the vision is
> > much clearer and complete. Cheers, ajit sinha
> I think you are choking on an a self-referential
> feature of Marx's
> Historical Materialism (HM) that he inherits from
> his inversion of
> Hegel. Both thinkers argue that human history is
> intelligible and
> law-governed. For Hegel, history is the
> self-development of Spirit,
> for Marx its the self-development of social labour.
> Both Spirit and
> social labour function in the role of invariants in
> each respective
> theory that ultimately explain social change through
> time. Hegel
> claims that the Spirit first becomes self-conscious
> of itself in
> Hegelian philosophy, whereas Marx argues that social
> labour first
> becomes self-conscious of its own historical role in
> scientific
> socialism (e.g., "philosophy must be realized in the
> proletariat"). So
> HM is a theory of history that explains the
> necessity of its own
> appearance at a certain stage of human development
> (hence the
> self-referential element). But of course it is not a
> finished theory
> (hence the historical contingency). Since science is
> cumulative the
> claims of HM are universal without entailing a
> contradiction: if it is
> a true theory of history then better and more
> complete theories in the
> future will retain its essential insights (c.f.
> Newtonian mechanics as
> a special-case of quantum mechanics at large
> scales).
> I think your invocation of the liar paradox does not
> do justice to
> this theoretical complexity. It's also a typically
> "analytical"
> objection that ignores how self-referential
> paradoxes can get resolved
> once time is introduced. Implement the liar paradox
> in Prolog and
> you'll get an infinite loop not a crash.
Ian, I'm not talking about the theory of history. I'm
talking about the critique of ideas based on the
master strategy of HM. To quote Rubin via Jurriaan:

In Das Kapital, as Isaac I. Rubin emphasized, Marx
indeed explicitly tries to explain why the categories
of value present themselves they way they do in human
consciousness generally, and in the consciousness of
businessmen and the political economists in
particular. Marx refers specifically for example to
the reifying effects of market relations, in terms of
"commodity fetishism", "the illusions of competition"
which invert the real concatenation of events, and the
"holy trinity" of value-creation. He notes also that
"In bourgeois societies the economic fictio juris
prevails, that every one, as a buyer, possesses an
encyclopedic knowledge of commodities." (note 5)

The question is: how could Marx penetrate through the
so-called "commodity fetishism" where other political
economists could not? Obviously they had some
limitation that Marx does not have. It is the question
of the vantage point that Marx claims for himself but
denies others to have. Cheers, ajit sinha

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