[Marxism] Re: State capitalism: some quick replies to Joe and Phil

Julio Huato juliohuato at hotmail.com
Thu Dec 16 08:56:07 MST 2004

Matías Scaglione wrote:

>Capital is a historical social relation. Labor is an "element of the real 
>labour process".

Louis Proyect used a conventional term that has a definite conventional 
meaning.  I was just trying to clarify its correct use.  In defense of 
Louis, using that term (including my clarification) doesn't conflict with 
the idea that capital -- in the Marxist sense -- is a social relation, or 
that labor is the use of labor power, etc.

>The neoclassical mix capital-labor (see Wicksteed, J.B. Clark and their 
>amnesic heirs) is just a formalization of the vulgar, senseless and 
>apologetic "trinity formula" already destroyed by classical political 
>economy (see Capital volume III, ch. 48).

Who is mixing up "capital" and "labor"?  And where's the vulgarity, 
senseless, and apologetics in using the concept of factor intensity?  Change 
the labels if you prefer: "the ratio of means of production to labor power, 
both in their respective physical units."  Big deal.  And if it's already 
been destroyed by classical political economy, then why worry?

>Marginalism is interested in exchange, not in production.

What do you mean by marginalism?  The idea of marginal change is an 
application of the calculus notion of infinitesimal change.  Do you have a 
problem with calculus?  Modern conventional ("bourgeois") economics doesn't 
even use calculus to make the point.

Anyway, I support Louis' right to use the concept of factor intensity in his 
writings.  It's a conventional term that many people (including 
non-Marxists) understand.  As long as he uses it correctly, there should be 
no problem with it.


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