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

From: Paul Zarembka <>
Date: Mon Dec 15 2008 - 22:38:01 EST


Thanks for your two emails of yesterday and I guess we can let things
stand, except for three brief replies:

a) I was not claiming you had never discussed production of absolute
surplus value, etc., but only that you jumped from Part I of Volume I to
Part I of Volume III in your posted exposition of why competition is so
important. I felt that that emphasis was at the expense of the intervening
1000 pages. For example, Marx's 'production of relative surplus value'
provides a foundation for a theory of technological change, a foundation
absent from the basics of a neoclassical static theory. The constant
revolutionizes of productive forces is of high importance, comparing
capitalist society with prior societies, and would be a topic I'd rather
work on than that of competition.

b) Regarding the below,

> 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.

I remember liking the related attempt made by John Goldstein in "The
Micro-Macro Dialectic: A Concept of a Marxian Microfoundation", Research in
Political Economy, Volume 9, 1886.

c) You write in the second message of yesterday that "the root of
capitalist competition is a battle over the production and distribution of
surplus value" and Marx's "inquiry is not primarily about how competition
can explain things, but what explains competition, what are the economic
laws governing competition". I don't really understand if and where we
disagree, except as a matter of emphasis. In my case, I have not read
Porter and he wouldn't be on my likely agenda.

Paul Z.

P.S. One personal puzzle to me is how you manage your time to write long
messages and still occupy a non-academic job. I occupy an academic job and
find time always getting burned up with one thing or another. Perhaps your
job is of a type you can completely leave when you get off work. This
puzzle came to mind as you commented as if us academics have it easy in
having the time to write. (You don't need to answer this; it's just a
curiosity of mine. I have trouble even keeping up with reading email.)

(Vol.23) THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF 9-11 Seven Stories Press soft, 2nd ed. 2008
(Vol.24) TRANSITIONS IN LATIN AMERICA ~~~Research in Political Economy~~~

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Received on Mon Dec 15 22:42:42 2008

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