Ron Press' observation

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Tue Apr 4 07:34:46 MDT 1995


On 3rd April Rakesh wrote

 > In his analysis of what he calls the treadmill of capitalist production,
 > Moishe Postone  also demonstrates at a high level of abstraction why
 > increased labor productivity in itself does not increase wealth in its
 > capitalist form--value.

Hello Rakesh,

Did not Marx do the same - in that the labour theory of value argues that
the sum total of exchange value - at whatever level of productivity -
cannot be larger than the total number of hours of labour time engaged in
producing commodities according to what is socially necessary with
the prevailing customs and technology?

I am not trying to make a clever quibble to suggest that Postone is
irrelevant. On the contrary I increasingly feel that unless Marxists have
a coherent way of criticising what I think we would better call the
triumphant advance of commodity exchange [I believe Marx never used the
word capitalism?] then we will not get our ideas over to the 'masses'.

I also believe deeply that the labour theory of value is one of the
pillars of marxism, and eminently comprehensible by non-academic folk,
who sell their labour power. I just can't upload my file drawing the
attention of this list to the very interesting article by Paul Cockshott
in the Spring issue of Capital and Class reporting on a successful
empirical testing of the ltv in the British economy.

Regards,

Chris Burford




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