Monday, August 4, 2008

Part 8. Stalin on Law of Value

History of Market Socialism

Question to Stalin from Economist A.Arakeylan
30th May 1950

Question: [A. Arakelyan] Is it correct in place of the concept of the 'transformation' of the law of value in the USSR to apply the concept 'limiting the operation' of the law of value?

Answer: The laws of science cannot be created, destroyed, abrogated, changed or transformed. The laws must be taken into consideration. If we violate them, we suffer. An opinion is widespread with us that the time of the (operation of the -- tr.) laws is past. This point of view is frequently found not only among economists but also those engaged in practical work and politicians. This does not correspond with the concept of law.The proposition about the transformation of laws is a digression from science, this comes from philistinism.

It is not possible to transform the laws of nature and society. If it is possible to transform a law then it is also possible to abolish it. If it is possible to transform and abolish laws then it means that 'everything is possible for us'. Laws must be taken into consideration, grasped and utilised. It is possible to limit their sphere of impact.This is so in physics and chemistry. This is so for all science. One should speak not of transforming the laws but of limiting their sphere of operation. This would be more precise and scientific. No imprecision must be allowed in the textbook. We are coming out with a textbook on political economy before the whole world. It would be used at home and abroad.We do not limit the laws, but the material objective conditions. When the sphere of operation of the law is limited the law looks different.

The sphere of operation of the law of value with us is limited. The law of value is not exactly what it was under capitalism. It is not transformed with us, but limited by the force of objective conditions. The main thing is that here private property has been eliminated and labour power is not a commodity. These are the objective conditions that determine the limiting of the sphere of operation of the law of value. This limiting of the law of value occurs not because we wanted it but because such is the necessity, such are the favourable conditions for such a limitation.These objective conditions impel us to limit the sphere of the operation of the law of value.Law is a reflection of the objective process.

The law reflects the correlation between objective forces. The law shows the correlation between the causes and the result. If a certain balance of forces and certain objective conditions are given then inevitably certain results follow. One has to take account of these objective conditions. If some of the objective conditions are missing then the corresponding results will be different. With us the objective conditions have changed as compared to capitalism ( there is no private property and labour power is not a commodity), therefore, the results are also different. The law of value has not been transformed with us, but the sphere of operation is limited by virtue of the objective conditions.

See Stalin's Five Conversations with Soviet Economists further down this post for more details of Stalins views on Political Economy.

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