Re: [OPE] exploitation theory

From: B.R.Bapuji <>
Date: Thu Dec 24 2009 - 00:22:57 EST

In her recent Telugu book, the English translation of which is being done and which is expected to come out in May 2010 [Economics for Children: Based on Marx's 'Capital'], Ranganayakamma argues that there is no exchange [whether equal or unequal] at all between the capitalist and the worker.
Meanwhile let me summarize her argument here.
According to her, there is no point in isolating/separating 'necessary labour' from the total labour that a worker gives to the caitalist and then talk about exchange between it and the wages. The wage that the capitalist pays to the worker is a portion of the total labour which the worker performed in the workplace. Which means, the capitalist is paying wages from the total labour performed by the worker. Further, the capitalist does not perform any labour, poroduce any commodity and exchanges that commodity with that of the worker as is done in any exchange. The capitalist gets total labour of the worker, takes out some portion and pays it as wages to the worker and retains [exploits] the remaining portion which Marx calls 'surplus value'.

B.R.Bapuji, Professor,
Centre for Applied Linguistics & Translation Studies [CALTS],
University of Hyderabad, Central University post office,
HYDERABAD-500 046. (Phone: 040-23133655,23133650 or 23010161).
Residence address:
76, Lake-side Colony, Near Durgam Cheruvu, [End of Road opp:Madapur Police Station], Jubilee Hills post, Hyderabad-500033.
(Phone: 040-23117302)

--- On Wed, 12/23/09, Philip Dunn <> wrote:

From: Philip Dunn <>
Subject: Re: [OPE] exploitation theory
To: "Outline on Political Economy mailing list" <>
Date: Wednesday, December 23, 2009, 9:28 PM

>From the paper:

"More specifically, this paper analyses the theory of exploitation as an
unequal exchange (hereafter, UE) of labour, according to which
exploitative relations are characterised by a difference between the
hours of labour that an individual provides and the hours of labour
necessary to produce commodities that she can purchase with her income."

There is inequality of hours here certainly but is there unequal

A worker sells some producer commodity (aka the commodity labour-power)
to the capitalist and with the money wages buys produced commodities.
These two transactions constitute an exchange, mediated by money.

It is only possible to speak of equal or unequal exchange if produced
commodities are commensurable in exchange with producer commodities,
i.e. if they have a common money measure of their value.

Marx went to some trouble to show the possibility of exploitation under
conditions of equal exchange (money a universal equivalent, the common
measure, no incongruity of price and value), even while there was
inequality of hours. In order to do this he determined the value of
labour-power by the value of the produced commodities required to
*reproduce* it. This value seems to be transferred to and embodied in
labour-power. Alternatively, within the new approach, Simon Mohun, to
cope with unequal exchange, denies that labour-power has a relative form
of value (no intrinsic value, understood as embodied labour value) and
says that the value of the money wage, the equivalent form, is to be
taken the value of labour-power.

The third way.

I am running out of steam (I have posted on this before) but I think it
is possible to avoid relying on unequal exchange for the possibility of
exploitation by admitting the possibility that that exchange can be
neither equal nor unequal. Exchange between produced commodities is
equal, exchange between producer commodities is equal but exchange
between the two is neither equal nor unequal.

On Wed, 2009-12-23 at 10:07 -0600, Jerry Levy wrote:
> Forwarded with permission of the sender.
> In solidarity, Jerry
> Dec 23, 2009 06:58:39 AM, wrote:
> Dear Gerald Levy
> my name is Roberto Veneziani and I am a lecturer at Queen Mary
> University of London. Among my research interests is Marxian economics
> and in particular exploitation theory. I have just completed a new
> paper, written jointly with Naoki Yoshihara (Hitotsubashi University),
> in which we provide the first axiomatic analysis of exploitation as
> the unequal exchange of labour, in the context of Roemer-type
> economies. Among other results (including a generalisation of Roemer's
> results), it turns out that the unique definition
> of exploitation satisfying a small set of (arguably) weak axioms is a
> definition
> conceptually related to the "New Interpretation", developed by Duncan
> Foley and Gerard Dumenil.
> I am taking the liberty to send you a link to our discussion paper.
> Any comments, suggestions, and criticisms are more than welcome. This
> is part of a major research project on exploitation theory, and any
> feedback from you would be particularly valuable.
> <>
> Best
> Roberto
> _______________________________________________
> ope mailing list

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Received on Thu Dec 24 00:27:08 2009

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