[OPE-L:1695] Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?

Subject: [OPE-L:1695] Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?
From: Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Date: Thu Nov 18 1999 - 08:16:38 EST

Re Makoto's [OPE-L:1693]:

> I agree with Paul and Jerry's view of distinction between G/W value form
> theories and mine, though there might some Uno theorists who are more
> sympathetic to the former. As Jerry points out, the issue relates to the
> view of possible models of socialism. Labour-time must be an important
> concern for social cooperation among workers in a socialist economies, as
> Marx suggested.

Even though the study of the political economy of socialism is an
important study in its own right, we can not read _Capital_ with the
assumption that the categories developed to comprehend capitalism in
thought can also be used to comprehend socialism.

In other words, I think we have to ask the question:
"What is the subject matter of _Capital_, from the very beginning of
   Volume 1?"
*independently* of the question:

"What are the characteristics and dynamics of a socialist

These are two separate questions, in my view, and they should not be
confused or conflated.

> If this aspect is conceived as social labour, the concept of
> labour must become triple, not dual, and the theoretical relations among
> them must be analysed. Then, the dimension of abstract labour may not much
> play an important role.

Yet, both concrete and abstract labour are specific forms of social
labour under capitalism. Thus, some understanding of how these two forms
of labour are related to each other necessarily implies some understanding
of social labour. I don't think that this requires that the role of
abstract labour in the analysis be diminished; rather, it requires that
one develops this category as a specific form of social labour associated
with capitalism.

> As for Jerry's 'old' question in OPE-L:1639 on the value and price of
> labour-power in Capital, Marx's notion of capital in general itself
> presented in Grundrisse was being trasnformed into a more extended
> theoretical system in Capital including accumulation of capital,
> comepetition among capitals and business cycle theories. Marx, however,
> did not complete the transformation and in some places states as if he
> is working still in the frame work of capital in general. Therefore,
> we have to complete what Marx was intending to complete from our own
> theoretical and methodological points of view beyond mere
> interpretation.

I agree that not all of the issues here concern interpretations of Marx
and, therefore, can not be settled by reference to what Marx wrote alone.

Yet, what was the level of abstraction of Volume 3 if it wasn't "capital
in general"? It seems to me that the question of the distribution of
surplus value which forms much of his analysis in that volume is developed
within the framework of "capital in general". But if, for the sake of
discussion, we say that the the level of abstraction *wasn't* "capital in
general" then what was it?

In solidarity, Jerry

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