LTV: An encore

Tue Aug 2 11:57:00 MDT 1994

     I am impressed by the empirical evidence Paul gives for the
     correlation of value and prices, but I would disagree when he goes so
     far as to say:

     "If the labour theory of value is rejected, then the entirely of the
     classical and marxist objective approach to political economy falls in
     favour of a subjectivist approach."

     and that

     "The issues at stake here are central to the struggle between
     socialism and capitalism..." which he suggests depends on "the
     scientific validity of the labour theory of value."

     What *is* crucial to the struggle against capitalism, it seems to me,
     is the role of the LTV in establishing the source of surplus-value and
     exploitation.  For it is this, rather than predicting prices, which
     targets capital as the appropriation of value produced by work, and
     justifies the call for the expropriation of the expropriators.

     This "critical" version of the LTV (as I called it in a previous
     posting), requires no price-predicting, no ontological or metaphysical
     commitments to magical ability of labor to embody things with value;
     it requires only an historical understanding (not a measurement) of
     the *difference* between necessary and surplus labor.

     Whether work will even be measured in terms of value "after the
     revolution" is something best left for "socialists of the future" to
     decide, it seems to me, not for us to decide for them.  Ending
     capitalism is our central task, and for this a "critical" LTV is of
     primary importance.

     Gene Holland

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