By Benedetto Croce, C.M. Meredith
The articles comprising this ebook stem from Croce's reflections on an essay at the materialist belief of heritage despatched to him in 1895 by means of his former instructor, Antonio Labriola, whose lectures on ethical philosophy Croce had attended on the college of Rome in 1885, and who can declare credits for having switched over Trotsky to Marxism. The essay influenced Croce to jot down a few articles on socialist literature and economics that have been accumulated jointly and released as Materialismo Storico ed Economia Marxistica in 1899. [C:\Users\Microsoft\Documents\Calibre Library]
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Additional info for Historical Materialism and the Economics of Karl Marx
To set up an arbitrary standard of comparison, to compare, and deduce, and to end by establishing a series of divergencies from this standard; to what will this lead? e. we need to decide what meaning and importance it may have for us. This question too, although not stated exactly in this way, has occurred to Marx's critics; and an answer to it has been already given some time ago and by many, by saying that the equivalence of value and labour is an ideal of social ethics, a moral ideal. But nothing could be imagined more mistaken in itself and farther from Marx's thought than this interpretation.
As long as this mistake is avoided, the method is unassailable. But the formal justification is insufficient: we need another. With a formally correct method results may be obtained which are meaningless and unimportant, or mere mental tricks may be performed. To set up an arbitrary standard of comparison, to compare, and deduce, and to end by establishing a series of divergencies from this standard; to what will this lead? e. we need to decide what meaning and importance it may have for us. This question too, although not stated exactly in this way, has occurred to Marx's critics; and an answer to it has been already given some time ago and by many, by saying that the equivalence of value and labour is an ideal of social ethics, a moral ideal.
Thus labour-value would appear as that determination of value peculiar to economic society as such, when regarded only in so far as it produces commodities capable of being increased by labour. From this definition the following corollary may be drawn: the determination of labour value will have a positive conformity with facts as long as a society exists, which produces goods by means of labour. It is evident that in the imaginary county of Cocaigne this determination would have no conformity with facts, since all goods would exist in quantities exceeding the demand; similarly it is also evident that the same determination could not take effect in a society in which goods were inadequate to the demand, but could not be increased by labour.