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By Gary Littlejohn (auth.)

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Sample text

However, in my view it fails because, in realising that theoretical priority cannot be given to the physical act oflabour and thus in emphasising the social conditions of labour, the labour theory of value 'allows back in' other determinants of the division of labour without a clear specification of their relevance. In so doing, it not only allows a differentiation of the labourers, but a differentiation of the non-labourers who possess the means of production- namely, the capitalists. The acceptance of the differentiation of capitalists threatens Marx's concept of effective possession of the means of production (whether this is defined as legal ownership or de facto control), since each of the different kinds of capitalist specified by Marx controls some of the conditions of production, and consequently secures a revenue.

In other words, what pattern of differential access to the means of production would prevent some agents from predominating in a fashion which seriously diminished the capacities of other agents? To claim that a situation arises where no set of agents predominates in determining the conditions of access comes close to claiming that the division of labour does not produce differential capacities in economic agents: in other words, that the division oflabour does not produce important effects, and does not really matter.

8 These negative economic aspects of the land redistribution were conceded at the time, but were called inevitable, if the revolution was to retain the support of the peasantry, a view which seems reasonable. Socially, the redistribution led to a diminished size and increased number of families, 9 but some of these were ficticious family splits made to lay claim to more land which was still effectively controlled by the head of the former larger household. Politic ally, the redistribution destroyed the economic base of the opposition to the new government and created active political support for the new regime among the peasantry.

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