Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Sunday, May 15, 2016

QUICK REPLY TO MICHAEL KATES

As I get ready to go out the door, I am not able to come up with much that would be useful.  You could try looking at Chapter 4 of Gerald Jaynes' book BRANCHES WITHOUT ROOTS.  A better suggestion:  Send a message to Professor Jacqueline Jones, chair of the UT Austin History Department, at  jjones@austin.utexas.edu.  Tell her I sent you.  She is not only a spectacularly knowledgeable and brilliant historian.  She is also a really, really nice person.  My guess is that in an instant she could send you to the right sources.

Thanks for the inquiry.  I honestly thought no one would read the post.  :)


2 comments:

Michael Kates said...

Thanks for the helpful reply! I will definitely email her. Bon voyage!
Michael

Wallace Stevens said...

Bon voyage Professor Wolff. I have been tied up with various things, which has reduced my commenting. But I continue to enjoy your blog. It is fascinating the way your thoughts rove over so many things that have pre-occupied me over the years.

You note the input/output matrix as the production model for classical economists, including Marx. But I think that the model is also at odds with the labour theory of value. If I am recalling all of this correctly, for each commodity there is a potential "self" input--the seed corn required to produce a bushel of corn, the tons of steel required to produce a ton of steel, etc. Now, it is a thermodynamic fact, not even an economic proposition really, that the "own" or "self" input for any unit of output has to be less than one. No technology that required two bushels of corn to produce one would be sustainable. But now suppose that we translate all of the input units--bushels of corn, tons of steel etc.--into units of labour power, not with labour power as a numeraire, based on exchange rates in the market, but as ACTUAL units of labour embodied in the production of each commodity (forget for our purposes here how this is to be measured). One of these inputs is of course labour power, including the "own" input of labour power required to produce an hour of labour power. But here's the rub: the amount of labour power required to produce an hour of labour power MUST be less than one hour of labour power. So: all other commodities exchange for their full labour value, as measured by adding up all of the labour in all of the inputs; but labour itself trades for something less--the difference being surplus value. But of course if we measured everything in units of embodied corn, or steel, then the latter would appear to be exploited too.

From earlier discussions, I don't think that you dispute the idea that the labour theory of value is invalid. And this current discussion of the input/output matrix reminded me of a way that this can be shown. But this leads me, finally, to a question: for you, what is the basis of exploitation in a capitalist economy, if you don't accept the LTV? Is it simply the, indisputable, fact that the workers do not take home the whole product? In other words, it is not something mysterious or hidden--like surplus value, which is only visible when things are looked at in terms of their labour values, but rather a crime going on in plain sight, but one not recognized as such?