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I would say that the real error in Marx's chapter 5 and 6 is that he only
rules out the explanation of the the persistence of a value surplus in
terms of the process of Condillac's *synchronic* exchanges of goods by
which overall *utility* is enhanced (p.261-2. Vintage where Marx argues
this confuses use value and exchange value).
But Marx's critique leaves open the possibility of interest being
explained without any recourse to exploitation theory on the basis of of a
*diachronic* exchange of equivalents; in this (agio) theory the future
goods which are valued less than present ones are exactly the same, and
thus fit for satisfying the wants of the same kind and same intensity. So
there does not seem to be a confusion between use and exchange value, and
Marx's critique of Condillac does not apply (though Marx's later critique
of Senior's abstinence theory may do the job).
We also have Schumpeter's argument that without innovation even the
diachronic exchange of equivalents in a static world will not yield
productive interest persistently (there may room for some consumptive
So Marx has not logically proven the exploitation theory in chs 5 and 6.
We have his theory but it will have to stand up to the Bohm Bawerkian
agio/roundabout and Schumpterian dynamic explanations for persistent
And Gil I don't understand why you will not allow Marx to confine himself
to industrial capital, narrowly defined--that is, allow him to exclude
direct value producers and putter outters. see p. 273 of the Vintage
edition: "Why this free worker confronts him in the sphere of circulation
is question which does not interest the owner of money, for finds the labor
market in existence as a particular branch of the commodity market. As for
the present it interests us just as little. We confine ourselves to the
fact theoretically, as he does practically."
Even on Marx's assumptions, the exploitation theory is not exclusively
established. There is a need for further critique of rival theories. Chs 5
and 6 are incomplete.
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