[OPE-L:4162] value-form underdeveloped topics

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 7 Feb 1997 09:35:25 -0800 (PST)

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[Hi Geert! Hi Mike W!]:

In _Value-Form and the State: The Tendencies of Accumulation and the
Determination of Economic Policy in Capitalist Society_ (London,
Routledge, 1989), Geert and Mike W discuss -- near the end of the book --
certain "underdeveloped topics":

"The authors would not be so immodest as to claim that further
*intensive* development of the value-form presentation of the
bourgeois epoch is not required. Particularly underdeveloped
MANY STATES and the presentation of the WORLD ECONOMY and (the
lack of) WORLD MONEY (all provisionally presented in Chapter
7), but there are no doubt many other interconnections which have
been neglected." (p. 299, capitalization added for emphasis, JL)

Have their been any research efforts to develop these "underdeveloped
topics" from a value-form perspective since the publication of this book
in 1989? Could one of you (Geert, Mike W) expand upon the substance of
these topics that, from your perspective, need to be further
systematically developed?

"Nor can there be any absolute certainty about the correctness of
the order of presentation in all its details" (Ibid).

What do you see as the logical steps required in terms of ordering? How
is the ordering validated _ex post_?

"The major step in *extending* the presentation, however, must
surely involve still further concretisation, to the
investigation of everyday life". (Ibid).

Are the aspects of "everyday life" that you feel need extending the ones
appearing above and/or below or did you have other topics in mind?

"[...] The kinds of research questions suggested by value-form
theory for interrogation of the empirical description of events
and trends are: Does the observed removal or modification of
some policy target or instrument mean that some derived
necessary condition of existence is not being reproduced, or is
being undermined? Is the system then degenerating (in terms of
its own logic)? If so how? Or are alternative mechanisms
(policies, or autonomous economic or social processes) emerging
which will serve to reproduce that condition of existence? Or
has the system developed in such a way that the threatened
condition of existence is no longer necessary to its
reproduction? Or was it perhaps wrongly identified as a
necessary condition in the first place? (Ibid, p. 300).

Could you please concretise these questions somewhat? I.e. what, more
specifically, are the policies, targets, instruments, processes related to
contemporary capitalism that need further "interrogation" along the above

They continue:

"As with any theory of cyclical development, the most intersting
questions concern the turning points: what kinds of
manifestations of the persistent tensions of the mixed economy
are likely to stimulate a reversal of policy strategy?

Have their been more concrete value-form investigations of these "turning
points"? How do these explanations differ -- other than being presented in
a systematic dialectical presentation -- from (let's say) regulationist
and or social structure of accumulation (SSA) accounts?


"[...] Conjunctural accounts are not some optional extra, but are
demanded by the methodological imperatives of value-form theory
itself: contradiction must have a form of existence, however
contingent its content. The procedure of systematic conceptual
development and the programmatic interrogation of empirical
information not only generate new insights as to contingent
developments, but also provide a more adequate foundation for
existing (or, do you mean, "accessing"?, JL) assertions
about the basis of policy" (Ibid).

What would be examples of conjunctural accounts from a value-form
perspective? Would you consider Tony's work on "flexible production" to be
one such account? How are conjunctural accounts from a non-value-form
perspective accessed within an effort to conceptualize the systematic
operation of the bourgeois mode of production?

BTW, if you don't have time now to answer these questions, I understand.
If that is the case, then I would appreciate it if you would save this
message and get around to answering it when you (Geert, Mike W, -- and
possibly -- Tony) do have more time.

In solidarity, Jerry