[OPE] Reply to Paul Zarembka on the law of capitalist competition

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sun Dec 14 2008 - 05:06:25 EST

Hi Paul,

You are correct, insofar as I think, unlike the Marxists, that the competition isn't simply a competition between capitalists, but a multi-faceted social phenomenon that pervades the whole of bourgeois society, and that, as Marx notes, there's not just competition between capitalists, but also competition between capitalists and workers (which on occasions spills over into open class warfare), and competition among workers, which occurs notwithstanding the fact that they also all have to cooperate in certain sorts of ways. Competition can, in other words, be class-competition or intra-class competition.

Marx thinks that he has to analyse the conditions of the production and circulation of new value first, its various determinations, before considering the laws governing its distribution under competitive conditions, which turn - as he says - on the differential between the cost-price and the value of newly created commodities, and thus on the interaction of production and circulation. He wanted to argue that the economy of labour-time finally determines the economy of trade, although on the surface it appears to be the just other way around, and I briefly sketched my interpretation of "why" he thought that. It is a complicated topic, and obviously I cannot aim to do full justice to it in one post, though I think it's a fair question to ask.

If you want to demonstrate that you or Marx are more deep, profound and meaningful than I am, you're welcome to that, I don't have ego problems of that sort. One thing that interests me in a scholarly sense is a better exposition of the interaction of the law of value and the law of competitition. The scholarly literature on this is rather minimal, in part because Marx's idea has typically been interpreted via the prism of equilibrium theory, and consequently we never really get to an understanding of the dynamics of the process. I do not intend to give you an instant "complete" answer to all that, in response to a list question. Marxists always want me to solve their problems for free, but I'm not prepared to do that anymore unless I get something back for it.

If you want to demonstrate that I have left out certain aspects, that's no doubt also true, because I was focusing only on the question as put, using Porter's notion of progressive capitalist competition to illustrate what happens, when the concept itself, and what the competition is essentially about, is not clarified.



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Received on Sun Dec 14 05:08:23 2008

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