TLSD kap 4

 

The debate on the relation of Volume 3 to Volume 1 was initated by Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk in 1896. Böhm-Bawerk notes that when analyzing capitalism in value-based terms in Volume 1, Marx assumed that the “organic composition of capital” is equal in the varous branches of production. This, however, is not the case – as Marx himself later recognized. This caused him, in Volume 3, to concede a divergence of prices from values which, according to Böhm-Bawerk, directly contradicts the original labor theory of value and indicates its inadequacy. Since Böhm-Bawerk’s critique, there has been considerable discussion of the “transformation problem” in Capital, much of which, in my opinion, has suffered from the assumption that Marx intended to write a critical political economy.

As regards Böhm-Bawerk’s argument, two initial points should be made. Marx var medveten om problemet: det var inte någon plötslig insikt som Böhm-Bawerk vill få det till; utkasten till tredje bandet skrevs innan första bandet gavs ut. (det nämns redan i Ett bidrag till kritiken av den politiska ekonomin.) För det andra: Marx ansåg inte att motsättningen var något problem, utan snarare grunden för att förstå kapitalismen.

A difficulty with much of the discussion on the transformation problem is that it is generally assumed that Marx intended to operationalize the law of value in order to explain the workings of the market. It seems clear, however, that Marx’s intention was different. His treatment of the relation of value to price is not, as Dobb would have it, one of “successive approximations” to the reality of capitalism; rather, it is part of a very complex argumentative strategy to render plausible his analysis of the commodity and capital as constituting the fundamental core of capitalist society, while accounting for the fact that the category of value does not seem to be empirically valid for capitalism (which is why Adam Smith relegated its validity to precapitalist society). In Capital Marx tries to solve this problem by showing that those phenomena (such as prices, profits, and rents) that contradict the validity of what he had postulated as the fundamental determinations of the social formation (value and capital) are actually expressions of the determinations  – to show, in other words, that the former both express and veil the latter. In this sense, the relation between what the categories of value and price grasp is presented by Marx as a relation between an essence and its form of appearance. One peculiarity of capitalist society, which makes its analysis so difficult, is that this society has an essence, objectified as value, which is veiled by its form of appearance.

Marx går alltså inte från mer abstrakta nivåer till det konkreta, från värdelagen till den faktiskt existerande kapitalismen, utan från dess innersta kärna till dess ytformer. Marx har ingen pristeori, utan en teori om hur värde ger upphov till priser.

Det enskilda kapitalets profit är inte lika med det arbete som används i produktionen, säger Marx, därför att värde är en kategori på samhällsnivå, som fördelas mellan de enskilda kapitalen i enlighet med deras andel av det totala samhälleliga kapitalet. This means that on the level of immediate experience, however, the profit of an individual capital unit indeed is a function not of labor alone but of total capital forwarded.

Detta är också, säger Postone, en ofärdig teori om hur samhällelig djupstruktur och vardag är ömsesidigt konstituerande. Djupstrukturer förmedlas via ytformer som sätter ramarna för det vardagliga handlandet, vilket konstituerar just de kvasiobjektiva rörelselagarna, realabstraktionerna.

(Man kommer undan med väldigt mycket om man säger att saker inte är fel utan bara halvfärdiga.)

His treatment of the relation of value to price is not, as Dobb would have it, one of “successive approximations” to the reality of capitalism; rather, it is part of a very complex argumentative strategy to render plausible his analysis of the commodity and capital as constituting the fundamental core of capitalist society, while accounting for the fact that the category of value does not seem to be empirically valid for capitalism.

Postones argument: priser går att logiskt härleda från värdeformen; att priser och värden skiljer sig åt beror på att kapitalismen bygger på en motsättning mellan form och innehåll.

 

 

Kritik av Klimans kritik av Postone, från Principia Dialectica:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1EMkTi7WgJINHRyU0J6R3I0bjA/view

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