[OPE-L:1982] Re: "actually existing capitalism"

Gilbert Skillman (gskillman@wesleyan.edu)
Fri, 26 Apr 1996 08:51:36 -0700

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Steve writes:

> A quick reply before I hit the road for the day. Gil questions:
> *centrality* of the case of price-value equivalence to the Marxian
> theory of capitalist exploitation. Why focus on it at all, given that
> a) as Marx acknowledges, prices typically diverge from values,
> <snip>
> and Gil goes on to argue that there is circularity in Marx's argument
> on the primacy of wage labor.
> In a word, I agree--IF the centrality of wage labor is all that
> emerges from Marx's focus on explaining surplus from the exchange
> of value equivalents. However, I argue that something quite different
> emerges if you start from his exchange-value/use-value logic: a
> complete alternative to the subjectivist theory of value of the
> neoclassicals, which is not based upon a labor theory of value.
> I'll hold off on elaborating this until I get a few responses on
> whether my starting point--the exchange-value/use-value dialectic--
> is accepted by OPE members as one of Marx's starting points.

At the least I'm willing to agree for the sake of argument. There
are certainly several instances where Marx notes the dual and
shifting relevance of use and exchange value as his account develops.
I'm intrigued and would like to see where this leads. Gil