[OPE-L:2140] Re: Chapter 5

Gilbert Skillman (gskillman@wesleyan.edu)
Fri, 10 May 1996 07:01:53 -0700

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> Michael Williams, inter alia, states:
> So, the two heresies I am hawking around are that neither labour-power not money
> are commodities.
> <snip>
> Two heresies with which I, for one, completely agree, Michael. Maybe this
> is the basis for another OPE-L "quiz"?
> Cheers,
> Steve Keen

Treating labor power and money as non-commodities is indeed one way
around the inconsistency between Marx's Ch. 5 argument concerning the
necessity of explaining surplus value on the basis of price-value
equivalence (for *commodities*) and his historical arguments to the
effect that usury and merchant's capital extended to independent
producers appropriates surplus value and thus constitutes "capitalist
exploitation without the capitalist mode of production". However, by
itself it does not close the resulting gap in Marx's Vol I argument:
specifically, on what basis does one justify Marx's exclusive focus
on the purchase and consumption of labor power under capitalist
production, once one discards the (invalid) claim that surplus value
appropriation must be explained on the basis of commodity price-value

In solidarity, Gil