Four new papers on marxism archive

Jon Beasley-Murray jpb8 at
Wed Jul 26 18:49:40 MDT 1995

I have just put four new papers on the marxism archive.  One is not so=20
new, as it's my paper on "Value and Capital in Bourdieu and Marx" that=20
had somehow got lost earlier.

The other three are by (or cowritten by) Riccardo Bellofiore:

"Finance and the Labour Theory of Value: Towards a Macroeconomic Theory of
Exploitation."  Riccardo Bellofiore and Riccardo Realfonzo.

"The Case for Methodological Pluralism: a Comment."  Riccardo Bellofiore.

"Marx's Theory of Money and Credit Revisited: a Comment."  Riccardo=20

I include abstracts and/or introductions below.

Take care


Jon Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University
jpb8 at
Finance and the Labour Theory of Value:
Towards a Macroeconomic Theory of Exploitation.

Riccardo Bellofiore* and Riccardo Realfonzo#

Paper to be presented at the Eastern Economic Association Conference, New
York, March 17-19, 1995. Preliminary draft. Please, do not quote without

Contents: 1. Introduction; 2. The monetary circuit; 3. Abstract wealth,
money and wages; 4. The value and price of labour power; 5. Productivity
and the length of the working day; 6. The average rate of profit;

Abstract: Marx's labour theory of value stresses both the historical
novelty of capitalist exploitation and the monetary nature of the
capitalist process. It is the aim of this paper to express it in terms of
the theory of the monetary circuit. Thus, in t he first part of the paper
Marx's cycle of money-capital is re-read as a sequence set in motion by
bank finance. With the aid of a pure credit economy model, it is then
shown how Marx's simpler view of the origin of surplus value is confirmed
and generali zed in this larger monetary framework. The amount of surplus
labour now depends not only on the dynamics of absolute and relative
surplus value as analyzed in Capital, vol. I, i.e. from class struggle
over the extraction of labour time in production, but also on the
autonomous decisions of the firm sector over the structural allocation of
labour, i.e. about the composition of output between capital goods and
wage goods. In this way we integrate into Marxian theory the heterodox
stream of thought running f rom Wicksell through Schumpeter to Keynes's
Treatise on Money. From this perspective, Marx's view of capitalist
exploitation as the command of the capitalist class over the whole amount
of labour is not denied by the monetary approach, but rather reinforc ed.=

* Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, Facolt=88 di Economia, Universit=88 d=
Bergamo, Piazza Rosate 2, I-24129, Bergamo, Italy, tel.: ++39 35 277505,
fax: ++39 35 234693, e-mail: bellofio at

# Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali, Facolt=88 di Economia,
Universit=88 di Napoli Federico II, via Cintia 45, I-80126, Napoli, Italy,
tel. ++39 81 675013, fax ++39 81 675014.=20
bellofiore: comment on samuels

The Case for Methodological Pluralism: a Comment

by Riccardo Bellofiore*


"Sic veritas norma sui et falsi"

1. Prologue

=09The paper by Warren J. Samuels is composed of two connected, but
still different, arguments. The first argument (mainly in part I of the
paper) is a sophisticated critique of positivist methodological positions
- or, as Samuels puts it, of "prescriptivis t methodological monism".
Positivism is not rejected because it is "false", but because of its
internal limitations, and because it is lacking in persuasive power.
Practicing economists are not following its principles. The second
argument (mainly represe nted by part III of the paper) is a plea for
"methodological pluralism". Knowledge is here depicted as a social and
linguistic construction which has no outside. It is, then, impossible to
find an ultimate ground, a final epistemological principle. We hav e to
choose "which set of [alternative methodological] credentials to accept
and within what limits"; and we need thereafter to deploy rhetorical modes
of argument. Conclusive demonstrations are substituted by persuasion.=20

=09In the following, I will accept most of Samuels's critique of
traditional absolutist methodology. I shall also find something worthwhile
in his effort to embrace a credentialist (and conventionalist) approach
without falling into the non-sequitur of meth odological anarchy.
Nevertheless, I think Samuels has been - so to speak - trapped by his
anti-absolutist argument. It drives him to delineate methodological
pluralism at a too abstract level. Samuels positive stance looks, in fact,
like a photographic ne gative of methodological monism. On the contrary, I
am persuaded that what is needed is a more radical break with the
problematique of "epistemology" in both its (seemingly opposed, but
internally related) variants - "positivism" and "post-positivism"; "a
bsolutism" and "relativism"; "prescriptivism" and "rhetoric". Method is so
linked to substantive inquiry, that we can speak of the former only after
and within the perspective of the latter - which means that we must
abandon altogether the terrain of any kind of general philosophy of
science, and gain access to concrete, specific knowledge endeavours with
their concrete, specific methods. According to this outlook, once a
peculiar object of knowledge has been framed, it leaves no "choice" to
researchers i nvestigating it; it rather "compels" them to look for local,
but all the same necessary, truths.=20

=09In the short space of this comment I can only give some hints of
the reasons justifying this proposed "dissolution" of epistemology. In the
following section, I shall briefly show how a rhetorical approach
replicates the traditional questions of positivi st methodologies, and
then sketch a different route going beyond epistemology. In the last part
of this comment, I will recall some very plural voices (Bakhtin,
Bachelard, Hacking) to show in what sense a dialogical,
anti-foundationalist, local stance may  not entail any relativist=20
rejection of the objectivity of knowledge.=20

Marx's Theory of Money and Credit Revisited:a Comment=20

by Riccardo Bellofiore*=20


1. Introduction

1.1 Even without the negative externality of the organising of this
conference, it would have been hard enough to comment on Suzanne de
Brunhoff and Ferdinando Meacci on the Marxian theory of money and credit.
They are both extremely rich and precise reconstructions of the texts in
which Marx presents his argumentation on the matter. I hope I may be
allowed to recall de Brunhoff's pioneering work on Marx's monetary theory,
produced at a time when the close interdependence and, in some respects,
inextricability of the abstract labour theory of value and Marx's monetary
theory was entirely ignored. Both papers also refer, implicity but
clearly, to the subsequent developments in economic theory and each of
them, but especially de Brunhoff's, offers a wide range of reference to
capitalism's past and present.=20

1.2 My aim in this Comment is to draw attention to one contested but
central aspect of Marx's monetary theory. i.e. bank finance to production
as an essential feature of the capitalist economy, as the only genuine
monetary economy. De Brunhoff and Meacci each stress money's role as
general equivalent, as means of purchase and as means of payment. But
money seen as initial finance gets underplayed in both their accounts
where it is considered as an instance of credit as deferred payment.=20

1.3 Thus, one of the aspects of Marx's thought about money and credit is
accurately reflected. I am ready to acknowledge that it is this aspect
that Capital discusses most deeply and most fully. Yet in this way Marx's
suggestions pointing in the opposite direction, towards a theory of token
money (or, if you prefer, towards money as a symbol) are left unexplored1.=

1.4 In what follows, I shall not be trying to offer an alternative textual
reading.  Rather, in the first part, I shall sketch the outlines of a
monetary theory of production consistent with Marx's abstract labour
theory of value2. In the second part, I shall consider more directly some
of the points raised by de Brunhoff and by Meacci. In conclusion, I shall
enquire into Marx's reasons for insisting on the claims that =D4true' money
is only money-commodity, that bank credit is the upshot of a process of
multiplication of primary deposits and that the regression of the =D4credit=
economy into the =D4monetary' economy is the hallmark of crises3.=20

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