Re: [OPE-L] More about exploitation

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Fri Jun 22 2007 - 12:47:25 EDT

>Yes, I agree with Ajit that gaining an essential understanding of
>the wage-form is an integral part of explaining the origin of
>surplus-value (and hence profit). My point was that Jurriaan's
>inclusion of every sort of case where a person profits at another's
>expense as "exploitation" does not explain the *creation* of
>surplus-value from the perspective of society as a whole, only its
>passing from one individual's pocket to that of another person. This
>is the question that his all-inclusive approach to the concept of
>exploitation fails to address, as far as I can tell. And Marx uses
>the term "exploitation" in a specific or "narrow" sense--even though
>I'm sure he recognized its colloquial usage--because this is the
>question that he was addressing.

I very much like how you have focused the question. John Roemer
speaks of exploitation based on the possession of skills, but I think
you are showing the problems in this way of speaking. Marx introduces
the wage form not only to explain the origin of surplus value, he
also shows that it is allotted from the workers' own value added so
as to disclose that in the relationship between the main classes is
only formally mediated by exchange, that is there is no real exchange
of money for labor power.

  There is much talk about a missing book about wage labor,  but Marx
obviously sharpens and introduces aspects of wage labor (the basic
relation and fate of wage labor, some basic forms of wage labor, the
basic functions of trade unions, the structural limits on wage gains,
causes of national differences in wages). So in the controversy over
Michael Lebowitz's book I have not seen the following questions
spoken to: how is Marx's analysis of wage labour in Capital different
from that in 1861-63 Manuscripts different from that in Grundrisse?
Which new aspects are introduced, which aspects are lost along the
way?  Why in Capital did Marx introduce the aspects of wage labor
that he did? What logic governed the choice of those aspects?

I think that I know the exegetical literature on Capital fairly well,
but I just don't know of clear answers to what I think are reasonable


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