Value Theorists at War

David Welch david.welch at
Tue Feb 27 10:39:38 MST 2001

On Tue, 27 Feb 2001, Louis Proyect wrote:
> For obvious reasons, this debate will go on forever since it is practically
> impossible to solve through purely empirical investigations although there
> have been efforts to do so. My main gripe with "value theorists" is that
> they largely ignore political factors in understanding Marxist economics.
> Specifically, if you try to extract questions of crisis and breakdown
> purely from the internal, math-driven analysis of m-c-m', then you will
> miss the point entirely. You need to look at questions of war, imperialism,
> geographical displacement in David Harvey's terms, ecological "second
> contradictions" in James O'Connor's terms, etc. In other words, you need a
> holistic analysis. The "value theorists" generally find these questions
> uninteresting and seem involved in a scholastic enterprise utterly at odds
> with Marx's life work.
Yes but Marx's life work was to show that war, imperialism and so forth
are necessary consequences of the structure of capitalism. So in that
sense Marx's analysis is radically one-sided. But the transformation
problem is a non-issue of course.

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