[OPE-L:1689] Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?

Subject: [OPE-L:1689] Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?
From: riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Tue Nov 16 1999 - 11:26:38 EST

At 7:32 -0500 12-11-1999, Gerald Levy wrote:
>Hi Nicky. May I ask you a question?
>> My own readings of 'Capital' are guided by value-form perspectives;
>> in particular, those associated with Japanese political economy.
>What do you see as the relationship between value-form theories (e.g.
>Reuten-Williams) and those "value-form" perspectives associated with
>Japanese political economy (Uno?; [Makoto] Itoh?; other?). In other words,
>what do you see as the commonalities and differences in perspective of
>these two (or more) theories? And, why do you refer to the perspectives
>from [some] Marxists in Japan as being "value-form perspectives"?
>In solidarity, Jerry

Dear OPE-L comrades,

        me too as Mike L. am busy until the new millenium [that, according
to my quantitative measures, begins the 1st January of 2001], hence this is
a lonely whisper in the wilderness of karoshi. This mail is simply to
signal that those interested on the issue of value-form and abstract labour
as the substance of value may find interesting the papers by Geert, Chris
and myself in the special issue of the Rassegna di Politica Economica (in
English) which was quoted by Jerry in OPE-L 1540 (reproduced below).

        I think that the reference to Marx is empty if we are not able to
hold together the value-form perspective and the notion that abstract
labour is the substance of value. I think we must stress (as Rubin?) that
there is a double measure in Marx: an 'external' measure of value (money)
and an 'immanent' measure of value (labour). The substance of value - Marx
writes both in the first and in the last version of the first chapter of
Capital - is labour, measured in time units. This position is contested by
Geert and is upheld by me in the journal. The fact that I see the two
dimensions (money and labour) as inextricably joined in Marx does not mean
that there are no contradictions in Marx's deductions, nor that these
contradictions are not mortal. It simply means that if we arrive to the
conclusion that form and substance of value cannot be reconciled, Marx's
theoretical edifice crumbles down. One may then choose between
Benetti-Cartelier (who are value-form theorists) and Sraffians (who refer
to 'objective' conditions of production).

        In short my position is exactly the same as Chris's in the Rivista.
Chris writes: "Money is the only measure of success; it is the existent
form of 'abstract wealth' (Marx), and this means that the activity
producing it is itself posited as abstract, that the living labour employed
in the capitalist labour process counts only as an abstraction of itself,
*as a passage of time*". And again: "Since capital produces value out of
exploiting workers in Napoleoni's sense, the *time* of this exploitation is
an appropriate measure of value".

        Indeed, Chris's paper in the Rivista is one of the best I've read
in the last decade. I agree with it 99,99 % and I am sure this judgement is
not affected by the fact that Chris refers several times to three papers of
mine subscribing to my views! The funny thing is that in a private
conversation after the paper being published that Chris now seems to
disagree with himself and to agree with Geert...

        Let me add three things: (i) that not only the value-form but the
same substance of value in Chris's quotes (and in my view) is capitalistic
(I strongly disagree with the view that abstract labour is a
transhistorical notion); (ii) that Nicky's definition of the value-form
approach fits exactly Colletti's reading of Marx; (iii) that to say, as
Nicky does, that the 'Ricardian' (Sraffian) interpretation is that value is
labour embodied is ambiguous: this the interpretation *of Marx* given by
Steedman and Garegnani etc, but of course the Sraffians strongly disagree
with Marx on this point, and deny that value is labour embodied (hence,
they are on the same side of the barricade with the value-form critics of
traditional marxism); (iv) that in my view the abstract labour theory of
value is not a theory of relative prices, but a theory of the origin of
value and surplus value and of the class distribution of income - that is,
it is a macromonetary theory of exploitation. The quantitative side of
value theory must not be confused with theory of relative prices.



OPE-L 1540

David and Paul Z:

Since we're mentioning journals, may I mention an issue of a journal
(that, as it happens, I received in the mail today)?

Note the familiar names.

In solidarity, Jerry


                    _Rivisti Di Politica Economica_

Year LXXXIX - 3rd Series April-May 1999 No. IV-V


                            edited by

              Mario Baldassarri and Riccardo Bellofiore

"The Economic Thought of Claudio Napoleoni"
   by Giorgio Rodano

   by Riccardo Bellofiore

"The Value of Labour Value. The Italian Debate on Marx: 1968-1976"
   by Riccardo Bellofiore

"Accumulation, Breakdown Crises, Disproportionality, and Effective
   by Joseph Halevi

"The Source versus Measure Obstacle in Value Theory"
   by Geert Reuten

"Market and Division of Labour: a Critical Reformulation of Marx's
   by Carlo Benetti and Jean Cartelier

"Napoleoni on Labour and Exploitation"
   by Christopher J. Arthur


        Riccardo Bellofiore
Office: Department of Economics
        Piazza Rosate, 2
        I-24129 Bergamo, Italy
Home: Via Massena, 51
        I-10128 Torino, Italy
e-mail bellofio@cisi.unito.it, bellofio@unibg.it
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