[OPE-L:937] Re: Pure and Normal

patrick l mason (PMASON@cms.cc.wayne.edu)
Sat, 3 Feb 1996 09:30:32 -0800

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In a recent posting, Gil Skillman writes (in part):

<Since it remains the case that capitalist
<exploitation may exist without the capitalist mode of production, both
<on the authority of Roemer's formal argument and Marx's oft-repeated
<historical argument, and that such exploitation *necessarily*
<involves the non-equivalence of prices and values, my conclusion
<that Marx's chapter 5 argument (which insists, remember, that any
<setting in which surplus value is appropriated is isomorphic to the
<case of price-value equivalence) is invalid remains intact

How precisely does capitalist exploitation take place without the
capitalist mode of production? Exploitation and social classes have
taken place under many modes of production but it seems a bit perculiar
to argue that capitalist exploitation can take place without capitalist.
Further, one of Marx s many contributions was to show that IF com-
modities exchanged at their value THEN it is still possible for
exploitation to take place. To show that exploitation can occur when
commodities do not exchange their value isn t very interesting. But to
demonstrate that exploitation can occur even when commodities
exchange at their value, well that's a major contribution.

Yet, early on in his work Marx was quite clear that is possible for the
money price of a commodity and its labor value to diverge. For example,
if the labor value of the money commodity declines the money price of
the commodity will increase -- even though the labor value of the
commodity has remained unchanged.

Hence, there simply is no grounds for the Skillman claim that

<any setting in which surplus value is appropriated is isomorphic to the
<case of price-value equivalence.

peace, patrick l mason