the dynamics of value

jones/bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Sun Nov 20 23:51:16 MST 1994


Here is Karl Korsch on the law of value; he builds development into the
very concept of value.    Is he right about what he calls the decisive
factor? I think he is, but I Korsch's insight  so little emphasized in
discussions about value that I thought someone would be sure to disagree:

The particular importance of the law of value within Marx's theory, then,
has nothing to do with a direct fixation of prices of commodities by their
value.  It would be nearer the truth to say that the working of this law
appears in the general DEVELOPMENT of the prices of commodities, in which
the continuous depreciation in value of the commodities, effected by the
ever-increasing productivity of social labor consequent upon the further
accumulation of capital, constitutes the *decisive factor.* (my emphasis)
The ultimate meaning of this law as shown in the working by Marx in all
three volumes of Capital does not consist, however, in supplying a
theoretical basis for the practical calculations of the business man
seeking his private advantage, or for the economico-political measures
taken by the bourgeois statesmen concerned with the general maintainance
and furtherance of capitalist surplus-making machinery.  The final
scientific purpose of the Marxian theory is rather to reveal "the ECONOMIC
LAW OF MOTION OF MODERN SOCIETY," and that means at the same time  THE LAW
OF ITS HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT.  Even more clearly was this expressed by the
Marxist Lenin when he said that the "direct purpose of a Marxist
investigation consists in the disclosure of all forms of the antagonism and
exploitation consisting in present-day capitalist society in order to aid
the proletariat to do away with them."

>From Karl Marx by Karl Korsch, 1938 (1963), Chapters IX and X.  If anyone
knows of anyone else who has treated the law of value similarly, please
tell me.

By the way,  I have come across a very interesting short  book on economic
change by a Veblenite institutionalist David Hamilton Newtonian Classicism
and Darwinian Institutionalism: A Study of Change in Economic Theory
(1953).



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