From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed Dec 06 2006 - 12:12:49 EST
I know there have been many loud proclamations about how my posts should be sent to the junk box and pleas that I should be ignored. But we see a clear movement here from an incorrect interpretation of Marx's argument to a better one; and in that gap there were my putatively ignored posts challenging the flawed original formulations. So let's look at this exchange: > > >Ajit wrote: > >>Now, the proposition >>Marx is making is not that empirically profits and >>surplus labor are observed to go together but rather >>the *cause* of profit lies in surplus labor. This >>proposition is simply asserted but never proved by >>Marx. > > >Again this is not what Marx intended to do as any reading of the >first six chapters of >Capital I should make clear. Marx *deduces* that *cause*; he does not >directly prove it or assert it! >If value regulates price, then the difference in the monetary >expression of C' and C in the circuit of capital (M-C-P-C'-M') must >have resulted the appropriation of unpaid labor time. Then Ajit later submitted this correction of his view a few days later: > Before Marx no political economist had a good >theory of profit (except for taking surplus as gift of >nature). It is Marx's great originality that he tries >to develop a proper theory of profit determination (an >originality for which Marx is not given proper credit >because of Marx influenced reading of Ricardo). Now to >do so, Marx first develops a so-called theory of value >where commodities are supposed to exchange according >to their labor content. From this proposition he >derives a particular exchange relation of real wages >with labor-power and discovers the source of surplus >production in surplus labor. Then this surplus labor >so derived from the equal value exchange proposition >is used to develop the rate of profit. And even before this correction, I had already submitted this implicit challenge to Ajit's understanding of the logic of Marx's argument upon readmission to this list. >Please let us remember that Marx did not derive the labor theory of >value from his explanation of >surplus value, defined as M'-M. In that sense surplus value was >recognized long before Marx; the question of course is whether it was >buried by neoclassical economics as Joan Robinson complained often >and vociferously. > > Marx's explanation of the persistence of the surplus value value >presupposes the labor theory of value, for on that basis--as well as >Gil's favorite assumption of price value equivalence--Marx reasons >that capital considered here as a perfect aliquot of the whole cannot >have paid for labor time actually expended. > >What did it then purchase--the worker's ability to perform labor...We >all know the story...If the labor theory of value is true, then that >ability must have a lesser value than the value added by expenditure >of labor. And indeed input output analysis confirms that as true--as >even the critic Meghnad Desai himself underlines. Of course that does >not resolve the question of exploitation because the wage could >represent full payment for labor performed, discounted in terms of >labor's present time preference. The problem here is a fetishization >of time which is of course better than its elimination.
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