[OPE-L:7373] [OPE-L:903] Re: Re: Re: Re: abstract labour

Ajit Sinha (sinha@cdedse.ernet.in)
15 Apr 99 12:56:22 IST (+0530)

Rakesh continues...
> Ajit, for an expert, I don't think you are acting in good faith.
> Why do you
> have to turn to Foley to comment on how the contradiction
> between use
> value vs. unit value fits into your interpretation of part one
> and how it
> undergirds the later theory of the falling profit rate.
I don't understand all this talk about bad faith. I have never
turned to Foley to comment on anything in this debate. It was you
who said that the best argument made against my thesis is made by
Foley in his book, and you didn't feel the need to make the
argument yourself. You also asked me to comment on one of Foley's
chapters. To which i only responded that it has been a long time I
read the book, and I don't remember what is there in that chapter.
Where is bad faith in all this?

Turn to
> Ricardo's
> critique of Say in the chapter "Value and Riches". Labor saving
> machinery
> can increase the use values available to society while decreasing
> the
> exchange value produced (on the assumption of a labor expended
> theory of
> value of course). "As soon as by the aid of machinery, or by the
> knowledge
> of natural philosophy, you oblige natural agents to do the work
> which was
> before done by man, the exchangeable value of such work falls
> accordingly."
> (Sraffa's ed, 285) Note that *Capital* I (footnote 48 on p. 755)
Who has not known this, by the way? Increase in labor productivity
will reduce unit value of commodity is something everybody knows. I
have no idea what you are trying to prove here. By now it is
becoming clear to me that you really have no idea what you have
talking about. And this is simply a fun pass time for you.
> Marx then
> defends Ricardo here against Say's rebuttal in Capital I. see fn
> 48
> beginning on page 755.
> Now as for your other points, you don't clarify why the
> consumption of
> labor power being determined by class struggle doesn't mean that
> the
> capitalist won't purchase it unless through its use he can
> extract more
> value than its exchange value.
> I do not understand your elaboration of the implications of
> Geras'
> argument, esp as a critique of Marx. This is a good faith
> failure; if
> people think I am being purposefully obtuse, I welcome their
> defense of
> you.
Geras is not criticizing Marx. He is interpreting Marx. If capital
in general cannot get positive profit then there will be no
capitalism. The precondition of capitalism is that capital is in
power position vis-a-vis wage labor that allows it to extract
surplus labor beyond the 'necessary labor'.
>Again my main argument is that Marx does not have any theory of
> >supply adjustment in the case of labor-power, which is contrary
> to
> >what a commodity is supposed to be.
> You mean commodities are not ever generally overproduced? You
> must know
> that generalised crises, where all branches of production suffer
> from a
> shortage of demand simultaneously, are indeed possible. Ricardo
> and Say
> were blind to this. Marx chapter on money is an attempt to get at
> the
> fundamentals of why they got is so wrong in light of the crises
> that shook
> Britain. Confined at this point to simple circulation, Marx tries
> to show
> how money creates the possibility for a general glut.
I think I have answered this already. General glut of commodities
cannot be a long-term phenomenon.
> > Classical economists did have a
> >supply mechanism for labor-power through their Malthusian theory
> of
> >population, which Marx had rejected.
> A related point: as for whether Ricardo accepted a biological
> subsistence
> theory of the wage that was later taken over by Lasalle and
> finally
> rejected by Marx, there is an important discussion to be had
> here.
There are many interpretation of subsistence theory of wages. But I
think two important aspects of Malthusian mechanism are a positive
relation between real wages and rate of population growth, and
subsistence defined as the real wage associated strictly with zero
rate of growth in population.
> I have made mistakes in this discussion: I agree that a uniform
> profit rate
> is not an unreasonable assumption in a Sraffian model of a
> totally
> automated economy; and I agree that I should have not conflated
> technical
> progress with viable technical change in the discussions of the
> falling
> profit rate theory.
> Now let me pose some questions, instead of arguments:
> What is the argument Marx is making about why Ricardo's money
> theory
> undergirded his acceptance of Say's Law and belief generally in
> the
> impossibility of general gluts?
> How does Marx develop a rival theory of money on the basis of the
> duality
> of labor and its externalisation in commodities to one side and
> money to
> the other? Why does this theory of money allow for the
> possibility of a
> general glut while not explaining why it does actually obtain
> with periodic
> force in capitalist development?
> Or to put the question differently: what is it about money that
> it can be
> so panted after that it leaves an overproduction of all the other
> commodities to the other side of it? How do we explain its fetish
> power?
> This is the most complicated of arguments. You are right that I
> have not
> answered these questions in my own words--I think Blake made the
> successful
> attempt in the textbooks I have read. Sweezy is not even in the
> running; he
> doesn't analyze the derivation of the money form. The problem is
> the above
> questions can't even arise given your interpretation of part I.
> This is
> what I am criticizing.
All these questions can be relevant given my reading of the rest of
*Capital*. All you have to do is drop the part one problematic as
the dominant problematic. Money is a part of capitalist system.
It's property in the system can be analysed. My point is that the
few pages on money in part one is not all that revolutionary--and
that aspect can be introduced later. It is the surplus approach
framework in which Marx must be understood. That's what my point
is. Cheers, ajit sinha
> I am reminding you that you say nothing about these questions in
> your
> analysis of part one, just as Steedman seems not to recognize the
> critique
> of money and partial glut theory in Marx's treatment of Ricardo.
> Our argument is about whether part one is crucial to
> understanding the
> theory of surplus, reproduction and crisis developed later
> on--this is the
> argument you have suggested. The quote from Volume III shows
> that the
> money theory developed in part I is used to understand the
> monetary aspects
> of a universal glut even after the use of credit has become
> widespread.
> Rakesh