[OPE-L:708] Re: LTV an assumption?

rakesh bhandari (djones@uclink.berkeley.edu)
Mon, 11 Dec 1995 02:12:23 -0800

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I think it is important to differentiate the logic of how Marx DERIVED his
peculiar LTV from how he VALIDATED it. There would be something scholastic,
I believe, if Marx only offered a dialectical derivation of his LTV. This
is not to deny the absolute importance of the fine distinctions which he
makes--Andrew has demonstrated for example the importance of the
differentiation of the form of value from value itself. It is only to
suggest that ultimately it is Marx's ability to explain real unfolding
relations on the basis of his LTV and the fine distinctions upon which it
is itself based which validates his value theory. On this, Postone has

"The nature of the Marxian argument, then, is not supposed to be that of a
logical deduction; it does begin with indubitable first principles from
which everything else may be derived, for the very form of such a procedure
implies a transhistorical standpoint. Rather Marx's argument has a very
peculiar, reflexive form: The point of departure, the commodity--which is
posited as the fundamental structuring core of the social formation----is
validated retroactively by the argument it unfolds, by its ability to
explain the developmental tendencies of capitalism, and by its ability to
account for the phenomena that apparently contradicts the validity of the
initial categories. That is, the category of the commodity pressupposes
that of capital and is validated by the power and rigor of the analysis of
capitalism for which it serves as the point of departure."(p. 41)

It would seem to me that Steve has offered a double criticism of Marx's
derivation of abstract labor as the substance of value: 1)there is no
logical reason to limit value and surplus value production only to the use
value of labor power, and (2)this is validated by the fact that there is
empirically no tendency for the rate of profit to fall, as may be expected
if only labor is productive of value