[OPE-L:177] RE: The Logic of the 6 Book Plan

Michael A. Lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Sun, 1 Oct 1995 00:26:26 -0700

[ show plain text ]

In message Wed, 27 Sep 1995 20:12:28 -0700,
Paul Zarembka <ECOPAULZ@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu> writes:

> Mike L., I've had the chance now to read your Monday posting (after
> getting it printed out--it was too difficult to read on e-mail). Are
> you suggesting that the single most important outstanding theoretical
> issue in Marxist political economy is the absense of a book on wage
> labor (or perhaps, more exactly, the market in labor power)? Therefore,
> that should be the group's first project?
> Paul Zarembka, SUNY at Buffalo

There are many outstanding theoretical issues in Marxian political
economy. What is the basis upon which we should judge which is the most
important? Eg, some might say that the "transformation problem" is the most
important because a good/better reply to bourgeois economics is critical.
Others might argue that understanding the capitalist world economy (the
subject of book 6) is most important because of the centrality of the
globalisation of capital. I think ultimately a political judgement underlies
our rankings, and I don't expect that we are likely to find agreement on
that (nor should we try). I happen to focus on the issue of the missing book
on wage labour (which goes far beyond the question of the market in labour-
power, as I hope my response to Tony communicates) because I think the
failure to theorise the side of workers displaces class struggle and the
contrality of revolutionary practice and leaves instead a deterministic,
naturalistic distortion of Marxism (which, furthermore--cf the point on
relative surplus value-- is wrong in terms of pure economics) and that this
hinders political struggles. Obviously, there is a political judgement
there. I wouldn't argue, however, that this as such be our first collective
project. I am content with attempting to convince others of the importance
og this question as we go along and think that after we feel we've talked
about the plans, the missing books,etc in general enough, we should proceed
to consider CAPITAL.
I hope this clarifies my position.
in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
Home: (604) 255-0382
Lasqueti Island (current location): (604) 333-8810
e-mail: mlebowit@sfu.ca