Bellofiore and Finelli's paper: abstract (fwd)

Jon Beasley-Murray jpb8 at acpub.duke.edu
Mon Jul 24 17:43:28 MDT 1995


Capital, Labour and Time.

The Marxian Monetary  Labour Theory of  Value as a Theory of Exploitation.

by Riccardo Bellofiore and Roberto Finelli

Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, Universita't=88 di Bergamo, Piazza Rosa=
te,
2, I-24129, Bergamo, Italy

Dipartimento di Scienze Filosofiche, Universita't=88 di Bari, Piazza Umbert=
o
I, I-70100 Bari, Italy


Paper presented at Conference on Marxian Economics: A Centenary Appraisal.=
=20
Karl Marx's Third Volume of Capital: 1894-1994, University of Bergamo,
December 15-17, 1994  PRELIMINARY VERSION. COMMENTS WELCOME

1. The Method of Capital; 2. Abstract labour, exchange and capitalist
production; 3. The 'formal subsumption' of labour to capital: the
'originary profits'; 4. The 'real subsumption' of labour to capital:
abstract labour reconsidered ; 5. Conclusions; Appendix I: Contradiction
in Marx; Appendix II: Values and prices in the capitalist process;
Bibliography

Abstract:Marx's method in Capital is rooted on the Hegelian circle of
'presupposition' and 'posit', whereby the presupposition is posited by the
result itself. At the beginning of Capital, abstract labour is
hypothetically 'presupposed' on the basis of the deduction of value from
exchange as such: value is here reduced to nothing other than objectified
and alienated labour. But, in the course of the three volumes, abstract
labour turns out to be the 'posit' of capitalist labour, i.e. of "labour
which is opposed to capital" or wage labour. Thus abstract labour is
posited by the mobility of labour power, which is the mere potentiality
for labour in general, and by the other-directed nature, within
production, of the wage-worker's living labour, which is potential value.
On this account, the capitalist organisation of production is determined
by processes that are the end-result of a consciousness and a will
separated from the workers, and is the ground of class struggle. This
turns out to be the real mechanism that 'underlies' and legitimates the
truth of referring capitalist wealth to labour. The notion of exploitation
that is appropriate to this approach cannot be reduced to a merely
distributive matter, whether that is understood as a physical surplus o
ver and above workers=D5 consumption (as in Neo-Ricardianism) or as the
surplus labour behind gross profits (as in traditional Marxism). Both of
these aspects are secondary, in the sense that they are derivative of a
more essential and fundamental factor, i .e. the fact that in capitalism
living labour is wholly =D4forced=D5 and =D4abstract-alienated=D5. At the e=
nd of
the paper some hints are derived about exploitation in the so-called "new
solution" to the transformation problem, defending a dual account of
exploit ation to be expressed both in time and monetary units. In two
appendixes the issue of the nature of the notion of 'real contradiction'
employed by Marx as well as the role of values as ruling prices in the
capitalist process are treated.=20

* We would like to thank Richard Davies for his help in translating the=20
Italian original.


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