[OPE-L:1699] RE: Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?

Subject: [OPE-L:1699] RE: Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?
From: makoto itoh (mktitoh@kokugakuin.ac.jp)
Date: Fri Nov 19 1999 - 01:38:32 EST

Dear Jerry;

Thank you for your correspondence. Let me try to reply briefly.

>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.

Though they should not be confused, they should correlatedly be considered.
Although the subject matter of Capital is capitalist economy, (1) the first
two parts are not directly of the analyses of capitalist economy, and (2)
the whole theoretical system clarifies in every steps the historically
specific characters of commodity economy and capitalism so as to suggest the
possibilty for socialist alternative for the future, not just distinction
with past social systems.
>> 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
>> 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.

Then, how do you define the dual characters of labour in a socialist
economy, if you follow Marx's suggestion in the section of fetishism or the
last part of Capital to imagine an associational society to use labour-time
consciously? Though capitalist market economy would affect to the choice to
methods of production and therefore to the quaintities of abstract
labour-time embodied in commodities, dual charaters of labour tehmselves
must exist without market economy or value forms both in the past and in the
future. There has been a long debate on this issue as you know which would
be too much to repeat in this type of communication. Please read back my
Basic Theory of 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?

If you compare Grundrisse and Capital, Marx's original concept of capital in
general was clearly presented in the former. Capital in general assumed to
present the whole capital in relation to labour, without treating,
competition, credit and joint-stock form of capital in the stage of
Grundrisse. Obviously though the term followed Hegelian triangle,
generality, specificity and individuality, the contents must be more in
line with the nature of capital. Capital in general also sometimes seemed to
assume a theoretical system of ideal average to follow and critisize the
classical political economy, especially Ricardo's. In contrast, the third
volume of Capital contains the basic theories of compitition, credit,
business cycles as well as landed property under the title of the Process of
capitalist production as a whole. The level of abstraction must therefore
the principles of capital, or a capitalist economy as a whole, not confined
to capital in general, though Marx occasionally states as if he still works
within the framework of capital in general. The more important
methodological distinction must be between the level of principles like in
Capital, and more concrete levels of stages theory of capitalist development
and empirical analyses of contemporary capitalism. Please refer to my Basic
Theory of Capitalism on this issue too.

All the best,

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