[OPE-L:7331] [OPE-L:860] Re: Re: Re: abstract labour

Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Thu, 8 Apr 1999 14:14:12 -0400 (EDT)


>And waht was the argument that Marx was making? That there could be
>a general glut in his C(1)-M-C(2) circuit?

No the possibility of the general glut is inherent in the monetary
expression of commodity value. Remember I had quoted Marx from TSVII:

"[The proposition] the commodity must be
converted in money, only means that : all commodities must do so. And just
as the difficulty of undergoing this metamorphosis exists for an individual
commodity, so it can exist for all commodities.--which includes the
purchase and sale just as it does their unity--instead of excluding the
possibility of a general glut, on the contrary, contains the possibility of
a general glut."

So Marx's argument seems to be aimed at uncovering in the circulation of
commodities contradictory aspects that are immanent and make possible
general overproduction.

I think I have brought
>out the cause of general glut in Marx's theory in a very clear cut
>manner. You need to critique that.

I can't find it in the paper I am commenting on.

I do find the claim that "market forces would not allow a permanent
existence of excess supply" in "the case of any other commodity" but labor
power!!! (p.213)

And talk about loose formulations!!! Do note that Marx is quite clear that
the analysis of simple circulation does not him allow to theorize the
*cause* of a general glut, only its *possibility*.

At any rate, I can't find where you talk about Marx's analysis of the
contradictions of commodity production, that private labor can only
manifest itself as social labor, that concrete labor can only pass as
abstract labor, that objects are personified and people are represented by
things. These are the contradictions immanent in circulation that Marx
thinks creates the possibility for a *general* crisis. This is not the
"problematic"--the theory of general crisis--that you ascribe to Marx,
though I am suggesting that it there from the beginning.

You seem to suggest that Marx's concern with allocation is consistent with
a Walrasian value theoretic approach to equilibrium. Not only does Marx's
analysis offo said contradictions vitiate or at least complicate your
fantastic claim, Marx also never argues (and you have provided no textual
evidence) that Marx actually thinks an equilbrium tendency is effective. I
have asked you to explain why the law of value acts like the law of gravity
only in the sense..., but you did not reply.

Blake makes the argument that Marx does not derive from the oscillations of
prices a mechanism that would enable the realisation of equilibrium in
value and price or supply and demand.

Blake recognizes of course that "pant producers, when prices are
disastrous--that is, are far below labor time spent in production--will try
to reduce production and so achieve an equilibrium with value; but no
sooner do they do this than other factors enter that upset the equilibrium
again. Hence the idea that there is a constant groping of prices for value
does not mean that the totality of production is represented by a series of
branches of production that compose a total in equilibrium. It is rather
that total labor time, in all production, is divided among branches of
production, each of which is selling well away from labor time, and being
constantly driven away from perfect correspondence with it, despite the
counter tendency to approximate it. This counter tendency expresses the
fact that the totality of values and the totality of prices are the same,
as representatives of labor time. But a total can be made up of sections
that are *never* in equilibrium, since it is a *predetermined* total in any
case." p. 135

Yours, Rakesh