[OPE-L:3612] Re: "Labor Theory of Value"--not used by Marx!

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 7 Nov 1996 05:37:06 -0800 (PST)

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Paul Z wrote in [OPE-L:3609]:

> The significance of the issue is the extent to which Marx broke from the
> classical economists in his whole conceptual framework.

I agree that the "conceptual framework" that Marx employed was radically
different from the framework employed by Smith, Ricardo, J.S. Mill, etc..
As Marx explains in the "Preface to the French edition" (dated March 18,

"the *METHOD OF ANALYSIS* which I have employed, and which had not
previously been employed to economic subjects, makes the reading of
the first chapters rather arduous, and it is to be feared that the
French public, eager to know the connection between general
principles and the immediate questions that have aroused their
passions, may be disheartened because they will be unable to move
at once" (Penguin ed., p. 104, emphasis added, JL).

I highlighted "method of analysis" above to indicate that for Marx this
was not *only* a question of the method of *presentation*, as some have
interpreted. This "method of analysis" that some (including and
following Althusser) have suggested has too many "Hegelianisms", Marx

"[...] I am *powerless to overcome*, unless it be by forewarning
and forearming those readers who zealously seek the truth. There is
no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the
fatiguing climb of its steep path have a chance of gaining its
luminous summits" (Ibid, emphasis added, JL).

This suggests clearly that Marx viewed the method of analysis, apparent in
the first chapters, as *indespensible* for the understanding of his work.
It would also seem to contradict the belief by many (e.g. Althusser,
Sweezy) that the first chapters can be skipped as they are filled with too
many "Hegelianisms" and "Feuerbachianisms" (Althusser) or are too
difficult and non-essential (Sweezy).

Was this what you had in mind, Paul? :-)

In solidarity,