Centrality of exploitation in political economy?

Justin Schwartz jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Wed Jun 7 18:36:57 MDT 1995


On Wed, 7 Jun 1995 glevy at acnet.pratt.edu wrote:

> > jks:  Well, there can be differences on what the central concept is. I
think > > it's exploitation, and flies without the LTV.
> >
> Jerry:
>
> If Justin is correct, why did Marx continue to write CAPITAL after he
> explained the origins and nature of exploitation in Volume 1?

Well, to be precise about it, he wrote volume one after writing the
manuscripits that went into vols 2-3 and the TSV.

  Wasn't
> Marx's purpose (at least the way he defined it) to show how the nature of
> commodity production and the law of value give rise necessarily to
> certain laws and tendencies of capitalist accumulation?

Sure, and so? (At least in part...)

> Even if you don't accept the premise of the second question,  if the
> study of political economy is primarily concerned with unravelling the
> mystery of exploitation, what is the purpose of continued study of the
> subject of political economy?

I didn't say anything about THE purpose of the study of pol econ.

 It would seem that Marx spent years of his
> life investigating unimportant topics.

I see: if exploitatioon is central, then anything else is unimportant.
That's absurd.

Look, take your cue from the subtitles of the three vols of capital--not
that Marx was responsible for the latter two, I believe. But the idea is
this: vol. 1: profits come from exploition. Vol. 2: and get shared among
various segments of the ruling class as described. Vol. 3: This leads to
long term instabilities in the system: by the way the story I (Marx) have
told in vols 1 & 2 is a bit more complicated than I have said....

There's a lot in Marx which doesn't involve or depend on the theory of
value. I suspect that of the 50 vols of the Collected Works, if you
deleted every reference to or use of the theory of value and everything
that depended upon it that you might lose five or six volumes, and not all
of Capital either.

--Justin Schwartz





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