[OPE-L:2544] responding to gil

Michael Perelman (michael@ecst.csuchico.edu)
Wed, 19 Jun 1996 18:54:11 -0700 (PDT)

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I appreciate that Gil was generally sympathetic to my comments on
his paper. Here is the key to my difference with Gil. If, as I
understand him, Gil wants us to go back to the notion of
exploitation, outside of the labor theory of value, then we are
thrown back onto various forms of exploitation: merchant capital,
usury, etc.
My reference to justice does not come from anything specific that
Gil wrote. Rather, we have no standards of fairness or justice
concerning merchant capital. For example, a merchant may make a
big profit today. Yes, he responds, but that is a risk premium.
Next year I might make nothing. Averaged over a decade, I make
no more than a working man. Isn't that fair?
More important, these other forms of merchant capital are not
necessarily crucial. Most "usury" that he describes in modern
capitalism is the transfer of surplus from capitalists to money
lenders, a surplus arising out of labor.
In Marx's day, slavery was a far more important source of surplus
than usury or merchant capital.

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 916-898-5321 E-Mail michael@ecst.csuchico.edu