globalization/fictitious K

Steve Wright sj at
Thu Apr 27 18:18:57 MDT 1995

On Thu, 27 Apr 1995, Chris Burford wrote:

> I like Steve Wright's reference to rubber bands, but I don't see that
> they are in logical opposition to the law of value.
> Who says rubber bands are not an integral part of the labour theory of value?
> Chris Burford.
Chris, the point I had been trying to make in conversation with Rakesh
was precisely that the E-L-A-S-T-I-C-I-T-Y of value relations - which has
been been stretched today to a degree never before seen - *shouldn't* be
confused with their obsolecense. I await with a certain malicious glee
the moment when the rubber band snaps back - or to use Marx's metaphor,
the moment when the law of gravity asserts itself. The 1987 stock market
crash was one of the best birthday presents I have ever received. My only
worry in this regard - apart from the fact that I still don't sufficiently
understand the workings of money as capital - concerns the
extent to which projects of collective self-activity will be able to
generalise themselves at that point. It's partly around this question
that my outlook on the link between crisis and working class autonomy parts
company with some of the marxists who have influenced Rakesh (e.g. Paul
Mattick Snr).

Mind you, I can't wait to see the law of value abolished by 'our' side -
anybody who talks about 'socialism'/'communism' or (whatever you want to
call a classless and stateless society) and thinks that value relations
will still hold there is really going to be arguing for a different form of
capitalism, whether they realise it or not. Or so I reckon, anyway.

Harry Cleaver has written a useful essay - a critque of Claus Offe and
Toni Negri - which takes them up for arguing that labour (for the
first) and the law of value (for the second) have lost their central
role in capitalism. I have only seen the essay in Italian, though; if
anyone is interested, I will ask Harry if there is an English
language version. Or perhaps someone on this list knows already.


Steve Wright

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