Episode 110: Value and Labor Relations in Capitalism and Socialism, Part 2

Is the “law of value” specifically capitalistic, or does it also operate in socialism? What is the import of Marx’s claim that labor in capitalism is only indirectly social, but that it will be directly social in socialist society? If you’re a worker, what does that mean for you? To address these and related questions, Theresa Henry interviews Andrew about the notorious 1943 article in which the Russian Stalinists revised their previous doctrines. They also discuss Raya Dunayevskaya’s commentary on the article, responses from pro-Stalinist economists Paul Baran, Oskar Lange, and Leo Rogin, and Dunayevskaya’s rejoinder. In Part 2, Theresa and Andrew discuss why the law of value is specifically capitalist, differences between Marx’s and the Stalinists’ conceptions of directly vs. indirectly social labor, the article’s claim that “distribution according to labor” prevailed in the USSR, and the harm caused when no effort is made to resolve theoretical and interpretive disputes. (In Part 1, they discussed what the Russians revised; the direct role that Stalin played; the debate between Dunayevskaya and the pro-Stalinist economists; and the significance of the revisions—for Soviet society and theory, and their continuing significance today.)

The following texts are referred to in Part 2: the Russian article; Dunayevskaya’s initial comment and rejoinder; Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program and Andrew’s recent analysis of it; Marx’s statements that value regulates production only when articles are “produced for the purpose of being exchanged” and that the “produce of labour universally becomes a commodity” only with the “new epoch” in which labor-power is a commodity; his references to the “determination of value” and “determination of time” in socialism; George Orwell’s “some animals are more equal than others”; Thomas Kuhn on unresolved disputes and lack of progress (pp. 162ff); and Andrew’s criticisms of the notion that “there’s no such thing as misinterpretation” and the concept of “preserving debate.

Plus current-events segment: Could Trump establish a dictatorship in a second term? The co-hosts (Gabriel and Andrew) discuss recent Politico pieces by Asli Aydintasbas and Michael Schaffer.

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Gabriel Donnelly and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks.

Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI. We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

Click here for more episodes.

February 9, 2024

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.