File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1999/bhaskar.9904, message 64

Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 13:07:48 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: BHA: RE: Theory of value


Some more references / comments:

Hans D is dead right about Lawson - nothing on value theory but a 
great book.

As for Lipietz / regulation theory. Well, Aglietta and Lipietz are, I 
believe, co-founders of the so called 'new solution' to the 
transformation problem which entails a specific interpretation of 
Marx's (labour) theory of value. This has also been developed by 
Foley, Dumenil, Levy and others (I think I'm right in saying 
that that the list's very own Hans Ehrbar is involved - am I right 
Hans?). For an assessment see Saad-Filho's chapter in the Freeman 
and Carchedi (1996) collection.

This specific development might be distinguished, I think, 
from a more general 'critical realist' approach to value theory. For 
a general appraoch approach I know of two possible CR angles:

(1) A critical realist interpretation of Marx's 'essence' / 
'appearance' distinction (this might correlate with Lipietz's two 
'worlds') where 'essence' equals value / labour; appearance 
equals price. There is a long lineage here. Norman Geras wrote a 
piece on essence and appearance way back, this was taken up by John 
Mepham in his realist article on essence and appearance (a chapter in 
one of the volumes of Issues in Marxist Philosophy (1979), edited by 
Mepham and Ruben). It was then Derek Sayer who developed the previous 
work into a book length realist interpretation of Marx's method in 
capital. Sayer's work has been very influential on critical realists. 
Bhaskar, Jessop, Andrew Sayer all refer to it in connection to Marx's 
method and value theory. Finally, in this literature we get Marsden 
(1998) in the Cambridge Journal of Economics, on the 'lost Marx', 
which draws critically on D Sayer and others to give a specifically 
critical realist interpretation of Marx and his theory of value.

(2) The other angle is Fleetwood's, who draws on Scott Meikle. The
basic idea is that Marx, following Aristotle, and in tune with 
Bhaskar, has an 'essentialist' philosophy, which entails that 
phenomena are rooted in real causal powers and structures. Applied to 
Marx's value theory this says that the phenomenon of price must be 
rooted in the essence of value (abstract labour). This does 
not sound different from (1), above, but the 'philosophical' 
route, via Aristotle, does give it a different feel. Fleetwood has a 
quite recent (1998 or 1997) piece in the CJE on this.

I have bored the list too often with my view of the new dialectics / 
critical realism relation to which Hans D referred. Most of the 
references above, and a discussion of the relation of critcal 
realism's and new dialectics' respective interpretations of Marx's 
method and theory of value, are contained in a recent discussion 
paper of mine which I should be happy to send to you (or anyone 
Sorry I haven't the exact refs for the above stuff with me - let me 
know if you need them.

Best wishes,

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