Marx on Ricardo and Productivity.

I’ve been skipping the proliferation of interesting passages on Ricardo. I included this one because the last sentence pertains to the theme of this blog. I also think it illustrates what I think is an important but neglected difference between the theory of alienation Marx discusses in the EPM and how he construes alienated labour as part of his theory of value in Capital. Whilst the former is simply an account of the separation of labour as external things from the labourers, the latter accounts for the properties these things possess:

“Ricardo himself expresses the matter correctly — I mean the tautology — when he makes WAGES depend on the productivity of capital, and the latter dependent on the productivity of labour.†a That labour depends on the growth of capital signifies nothing more than, on the one hand, the tautology that the increase in the means of subsistence and the means of employment of the population depends on the productivity of the population’s own labour and, secondly, expressed in capitalist terms, that it depends on the fact that the population’s own product confronts them as alien property and that as a consequence, their own productivity confronts them as the productivity of the things which they create.” MECW 32 380


About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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