[OPE-L:7297] [OPE-L:826] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: abstract labour

Ajit Sinha (sinha@cdedse.ernet.in)
05 Apr 99 13:46:31 IST (+0530)

Rakesh Continues:
> > Marx develops and how it informs later analysis. You suggest
> that
> > this
> > theory derives from the problematic of scarcity, which seems to
> > underestimate its epistemological nature. Now you do say at one
> > point that
> > fetishism entails "the impression that it is the inherent power
> > of
> > commodities or moeny to control everybody's labor" (202). This
> is
> > only
> > inching towards the richness of this theory--this decisive blow
> > against the
> > natural and eternal character of bourgeois society, Marx's real
> > problematic-- but even this formulation of yours seems little
> > connected to
> > the scarcity problematic.
I have no idea what this mumbo jumbo is about. You take it on to
yourself to give me marks about my understanding of 'commodity
fetishism', but you forget that I don't consider you an authority
on all these things. I'm yet to hear you explain anything in your
words--you are yet to make an argument, Rakesh.
> > Rakesh:
> > I also think you misinterpret the nature of Marx's critique of
> > classical
> > economics in the following passage: "never once asked the
> > questionwhy this
> > content...has assumed that particular FORM." This is not a
> > criticism for
> > the neglect of use value but for an inattention to form which
> for
> > Marx
> > discloses the historicity of the bourgeois mode of production.
So what is this FORM, by the way? Marx here is talking about
interconnection of social division of labor in a commodity
producing economy. The value form is a representation of it. The
use-value aspect plays a role in regulating this social division of
labor. I would like to know what you understand by this discloser
of the "historicity of the bourgeois mode of production".
> > Rakesh:
> > I also don't follow your analysis of Marx's analysis of the
> > commodity labor
> > power. You don't note that for Marx, labor power is not a
> > capitalistically
> > produced commodity--for example, it does not have a production
> > price.
By the way, in part one of *Capital* no commodity is produced
capitalistically. There is no rate of profit there either. Even in
Smith and Ricardo labor-power is not capitalistically produced, but
still behaves pretty much like a commodity.
> > argue that because the law of value should not allow excess
> > supply of any
> > commodity [how are you implicitly defining the law of value?]
> and
> > since
> > labor power is always surplus, the law of value does not govern
> > labor
> > power. But how does this prove the wage is not determined by
> the
> > commodities necessary to reproduce it?
The *law* of value, as I have said many times, is like the *law* of
gravity. It equilibrates supply of a commodity to its effectual
demand. This is how market regulates the social division of labor.
I have given not one but several arguments why labor-power cannot
be conceptually treated as a commodity. The point that the survival
of the system depends on a constant oversupply of this commodity,
violating the law of value, is one among many. On relation
of wages to its value: Because Marx does
not have a subsistence theory of wages, that's why.
> > Rakesh:
> > Now we could go on. But one final point is necessary.
> >
> > There is every danger that in my hands that the duality of
> > labor--the
> > discovery for which Marx praised himself with rare bravado--can
> > become a
> > dull stick. I cannot develop why how this discovery undergirds
> > Marx's
> > later study of class exploitation and expanded reproduction
> > through
> > disequilibrium and crises. The argument is developed over 700
> > pages in
> > Blake's textbook and in scores of pages in Grossmann's
> textbook.
> > Postone's
> > magnum opus is a crucially important work as well.
> >
> > I hope you find these works worth study and criticism.
> >
> > I certainly think they will be illuminating on the questions at
> > hand than
> > the satirist Karl Kraus whom you keep recommending to me for
> one
> > reason or
> > another.
Well, Jerry was right. I was refering to Ulrich Kraus, and not Karl
Kraus. I do not follow Ulrich Kraus's arguments. I think he also
relies on assertion at the most crucial point in his argument. But
in anycase, he is one of the most serious scholars who has tried to
work out the relation between abstract labor, money and value. The
kind of stuff you guys are interested in. I think you have been
reading this literature long enough to start putting your arguments
in your own words. Once you begin to do so, you will start to see
the holes in the arguments or rather assertions of the people you
are following. Try to write in a manner as if you were teaching
somebody about value, abstract labor, etc and you will see.
Cheers, ajit sinha
> >
> > Yours, Rakesh
> >