[OPE-L:2464] Was Lenin a nondualist, supporter of the single-system vision

Graciela Uriburu (guriburu@salud.ops.org.bo)
Tue, 4 Jun 1996 13:40:41 -0700

[ show plain text ]

Dear OPE-Lmates: Recently I came accross an interesting passage in Leszek
Kolakowski's "Main Currents of Marxism. Vol II: The Golden Age", (Actually
I've the Spanish translation; I don't have the English reference.) In the
passage, Kolakowski refers us that in 1913 Piotr Struve (a former "Legal
Marxist") published a book called "The Economy and the Prices" where he
maintains that, supposedly according to Marx, "value" is a category
completely independent of price and thus "supefluous". So, Struve was a
clear supporter of the dualist vision of the price-value relation, already
formalized by Tugan Baranowsky in 1905 and Bortkiewicz in 1907: Price and
value are two separated "systems of accounting", between which it's
impossible to establish any coherent quantitative relation. Moreover, as
prices can be calculated without using "values", these people believe that
values are "superflous" or "redundant".
In March 1914, Lenin wrote a commentary of Struve's book in an article
called "Another destruction of Socialism" (Works, Vol. 20). Retranslating
the Spanish version of Kolakowski's quotation, it seems that Lenin says:
"Price is a manifestation of the law of value. Value is the law of price,
i.e. it is the generalized expression of price phenomena. To talk here about
"independence" is to mock the Science". If it's correct, it seems that Lenin
doesn't conceive value and price as two "separated and completely
independent spheres". Value is the "generalization of price", and thus it's
is not "independent of price" as Struve (or Steedman) believes.
Unfortunately, I don't have Lenin's article (and it's not available here)
and thus I cannot see what are the general implications of the quoted
statement. Perhaps someone on OPE-L could check this text and tell me if,
effectively, Lenin was a pioneer critic of the "two systems vision" of
price-value relation. Alejandro Ramos. June 3, 96.