Comment Paul Fabra critique Marx - Pierre Rimbert

Pierre Rimbert Paul Fabra David Ricardo Pierro Sraffa
Subtitle of the English translation of Paul Fabra's book.

A detailed and levelheaded rebuttal to Paul Fabra's 'Capitalism versus anti-capitalism: the triumph of Ricardian over Marxist political economy' (1993, p. 345).

Submitted by Noa Rodman on May 27, 2016

'Covering every major theme of modern economics: from the "labor market" to the "gold standard," Fabra aims to show that the classical theories of Ricardo prevail over the more recent doctrines of both Marx and Keynes.'

The later French prime minister Raymond Barre gave a positive review of Fabra's book. Paul Fabra was a leading journalist on international monetary and economic questions at the time.

Fabra's book appeared originally in French as L'Anticapitalisme: Essai de réhabilitation de l'économie politique (1974, first ed.). The English translation is partly accessible online via Google Books.

My purpose is simply to show that there is no logical reason why the labor theory of value should not be adopted.

Sraffa, despite being the leading authority on Ricardo, seems to have been unable to formulate clearly the exchange mechanism and the meaning of the labor theory of value as understood by Ricardo. Even so, the intuition that "labor" as such does not enter into the exchange circuit is implicit in the title. .... Despite his immense merit, Sraffa has indeed come no further than a "prelude" to the "critique of political economy," since he too continues to regard the quantity of labor as a commodity.

It is a very confused book.

The response from the Marxist side came from one of the, no doubt rare, Marxist theoreticians still within the French socialist party:

Comment M. Paul Fabra critique Marx, (with a preface by former Socialist prime minister Guy Mollet), Paris, p. 103. Supplément à l'Ours n° 62 (Cahier & Revue de l'Ours), août-septembre 1975. See attached file.

Pierre Rimbert (born Carlo Torielli), 1909–91, expelled from the French communist party in 1932, joined the SFIO in 1934, where he was on the left-wing. He wrote several introductions to Marx's Capital: Pour bien comprendre le Capital de Marx, 1981 and Du Capital de Marx au socialisme, 1988.