[OPE-L:6450] law of value and the world market - refs

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Fri Jan 25 2002 - 15:40:44 EST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jurriaan Bendien" <j.bendien@wolmail.nl>
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2002 2:45 PM

Hi Jerry,

As regards the operation of the law of value in the context of the world
market, I discovered that some important Marxian work on it was done in
Germany but unfortunately it isn't translated in English. German readers
might like to refer to Ch. Girschner (Politische Íkonomie und Weltmarkt.
Allgemeine Weltmarktdynamik in der Marxsche Kritik der politischen
Íkonomie), Tilla Siegel (Kapitalismus als Weltsystem), and Klaus Busch (Die
Multinationale Konzerne). Girschner's book is recent but the other two are
probably out of print - though you could probably interloan them. It would
be useful if an academic could get a grant to have them translated !

As we know, Marx uses the term "law" quite loosely to refer to necessary
connections, developmental tendencies, causal mechanisms etc. He was
interested in discovering the "law" or "lawfulness" in socio-economic
phenomena, in other words causally necessary relationships, or why and how
things by necessity develop in a certain direction. He grounds his social
science on the necessity for people to produce and reproduce the conditions
of material life, the basic premise of historical materialism.  I assume
that Marx took the law of value (the conservation of labour in commodity
circulation, or the correspondence between commodity values and socially
necessary labour-time) to be something quite obvious, the scientific
challenge was rather to explain how the law specifically asserted itself,
how it worked itself out in reality, i.e. how exactly markets and labour
expenditures adjusted to each other over time and followed a certain
(necessary) path of development - which is what he does in Das Kapital. I
think Marx would probably have agreed with Engels that the law of value is
older than the capitalist mode of production, insofar as fairly
sophisticated commodity exchange also occurred prior to the rise of the
capitalist mode of production. But it is probably also pertinent to speak
of the "unfolding" of the law of value, i.e. the law only comes fully into
its own, or gains its full expression, in the context of a type of society
featuring a universal market, as is the case in full-fledged capitalism.



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