[OPE-L:3984] Re: Critiquing exploitation and nature

Michael Williams (100417.2625@compuserve.com)
Tue, 14 Jan 1997 14:24:32 -0800 (PST)

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Jerry quoted Marx as follows:
> Marx explicitly denied this [that the source of all
> wealth is labor] in the _Critique of a Gotha Programme_ when he
> wrote:
> "It is not true to say that labour is the source of all wealth.
> Nature is just as much the source of use-values (and it is
> surely of such values that wealth consists!) as labour, which
> itself is merely the expression of a natural force, the force
> of man's labour."
An important detail is glossed here. It is certainly true that labour is
not the source of all wealth, in the sense of an accumulation of use-values
(although this is an alienated form of 'wealth' in the sense of useful
objects). But the driving force of capitalism is th expansion of value via
the accumulation of capital. An argument can be made that labour is the
source of all *value*, and Marx's writings (neither in these quotes not
elsewhere, as far as I know) do no disagree. I do not have time to present
it know, but one such argument is in Reuten & Williams (1989)*Value-form
and the State: ...*: Part 2, ch. 1, section 5). The practical effect of
exploitation is then that workers do not control the deployment of surplus
value that determines the future course of reproduction of the economy and
Dr Michael Williams
"Books are Weapons"

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