[OPE-L:4286] Re: Mandel vs. Baran-Sweezy

aramos@aramos.b (aramos@aramos.bo)
Wed, 5 Mar 1997 07:03:22 -0800 (PST)

[ show plain text ]

In ope-l 4268, referring to Mandel vs. Baran-Sweezy Jerry writes:

> Yet, I think their *research agendas* were not wholly dissimilar. Wasnt
> an essentially element of both of their projects to further develop
> Marxist theory so that it was capable of comprehending the development of
> "monopolies"? Or, perhaps, a more accurate way of expressing that
> question is that they (and others, like Willi Semmler) wanted to apply
> Marxist theory towards an understanding of modern economies in the
> advanced capitalist nations in which most branches of production are
> dominated by oligopolies, rather than monopolies in the strict sense of
> the term.

This *seems* to say that in e.g. Vol I we have something like a
"competitive model" of capitalism which had been overcome by
"modern economies" plenty of "monopolies" and "oligopolies". However,
as far as I remember, Marx strongly suggests that accumulation drives
capitalism to CONCENTRATION AND CENTRALISATION. I have never found
persuading this (Hilferding, Lenin?) idea of a "competitive
capitalism" analysed by Marx and a "monopolistic capitalism" in which
e.g. the "law of value" is no longer valid.

In any case, one can "further develop" Marx theory in opposite
*theoretical* grounds. In this case, one can either try to "test"
Marx's position concerning the determination of value by labor-time
in the light of "modern developments" (as it seems Mandel did) or
propose a "increasing surplus approach", which IMHO is not Marx's
theory. I am (obviously) sympathetic with the idea of "further
develop" Marx, but this is not a "magic" way to avoid:
(a) the understanding of what Marx tried to propose, which is NOT a
easy task and
(b) to take some theoretical position.

Alejandro Ramos M.