Value and bridges

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Mon Nov 6 07:55:17 MST 1995

At 10:28 AM 11/6/95, Steve.Keen at wrote:

>There's a very strong sense in which I agree with Doug's comments,
>as paraphrased by Chris Burford, that:
>It appears to me to be a much more serious weakness of the LTV if someone
>such as Doug says, that for him, the LTV is largely irrelevant.
>(Doug was actually having a go at value debates)
>The sense is that, rather than debating value ad nauseam, I prefer to
>just get down and analyse capitalism from a surplus point of view--
>which is to presume that a surplus is generated, and then to
>analyse its dynamics, rather than debating from whence the surplus

I don't doubt (hope this doesn't make me a "true believer"!) that labor is
the ultimate source of value - or labor working on the raw stuff of nature,
to be more precise. I think this is much more a political point than
anything else, though - a way of denying the capitalist apologists'
argument that profit is the reward for K just on a par with wages being the
reward for L. But beyond that, who needs all the damn equations? Anyone who
uses those damn equations to try to "prove" the eventual demise of K'ism
would better spend his/her time agitating for the political demise of K'ism
rather than waiting for it to implode from its own fatal contradictions.

>But in general, I think the complete agnostics--the Kaleckis,
>Kregels, Minskys,...--have advanced the cause of the analysis of
>capitalism much more so than the "true believers". In that I
>see a lesson...

Kalecki understood class, unlike most of the other agnostics (and not to
mention a certain Post Keynesian or postkeynesian or post-Keynesian with
the initials PD, who's positively hostile to the idea of class).



Doug Henwood
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
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