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3. THIS TEXTUAL EVIDENCE, WHICH "MARX ACTUALLY WROTE," DOESN'T PERTAIN
TO "THE DETERMINATION OF CONSTANT CAPITAL IN THE CASE OF A CHANGE IN THE
VALUE OF THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION"? ARE YOU KIDDING?
As I have noted, Fred's paper does not address the most crucial piece of
evidence I presented, and the reason is *not* that his paper is
unfinished. Apparently, Fred thinks it somehow does not pertain to the
topic of his paper. The evidence is Marx's critique of Ramsay's early
articulation of a physicalist conception of profitability. Marx
EXPLICITLY ASSUMES THAT TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING, and according to his
calculations the sum of value transferred from the means of production to
the product is determined by the price of the means of production when
they enter production, not their post-production replacement cost.
What makes the critique of Ramsay such a crucial piece of evidence is
that it is much less easy to distort than most of the evidence. When one
deals only with Marx's words, it is always easy to twist and turn them
around in order to make him appear to say the opposite of what he
actually said. But in this case, rather than merely *discussing* how the
value transferred is determined, Marx *shows* how it is determined. He
actually CARRIES OUT THE CALCULATIONS. One's interpretation either
succeeds or fails to reproduce his calculations. The TSS interpretation
reproduces them. The "replacement cost" interpretation fails to do so.
Ramsay maintained that if, due to rising productivity, a smaller share of
total output is needed to replace inputs, the profit rate must rise.
Marx challenged this contention by constructing a few numerical examples.
The one most relevant to the present discussion is summarized in Table 1.
All figures in boldface are Marx's own -- what he "actually wrote"; the
others are inferred from the context.
Input Total ============= Vbl. Output Rate of
Yr Price Cap. Seed Other Cap. Output Profit Price Profit
1 £2/q 60 q 20 q 20 q 20 q 100 q 40 q £2/qr 66.7%
£120 £40 £40 £40 £200 £80 66.7%
2 £2/q 60 q 20 q 20 q 20 q 200 q 140 q £1/qr 233.3%
£120 £40 £40 £40 £200 £80 66.7%
Marx considers a farmer who produces corn by means of seed corn and other
inputs. All costs are measured in terms of both money and corn. Marx
assumes that, although "work was carried on in the same conditions" in
both years, using "the same amount of labour," the output of year 2 is
double that of year 1. The total value of this output, however, does not
increase. "Since the 200 qrs [produced in year 2] are the product of the
same amount of labour [as in year 1], then once again they are likewise =
only £200. Thus, only £80 profit remains, which is now, however, = 140
qrs" (Marx 1991:267). Marx thus suggests that, contrary to Ramsay's
claim, the rise in productivity causes neither profit nor the rate of
profit to rise in year 2.
These conclusions are incompatible with the interpretation that the value
transferred is determined by the input's replacement cost. Had Marx
computed the value transferred from the seed corn in year 2 at £1/qr,
profit would have exceeded £80. Used-up constant capital would have
constituted a smaller share of the output's total value of £200, and thus
surplus-value or profit would have constituted a larger share, even if
variable capital is assumed not to change. Marx's conclusion that profit
remains £80, despite the rise in the physical surplus from 40 qrs to 140
qrs, is valid only if the value transferred from the seed corn is
determined by its pre-production value of £2/qr.
Jay, M. 1984. _Marxism and Totality_ (Berkeley: University of
Kliman, A. 1999a. Determination of Value in Marx and in Bortkiewiczian
Theory. _Beiträge zur Marx-Engels Forschung_, Neue Folge.
Kliman, A. 1999b. Simultaneous Valuation and the Exploitation Theory of
Profit. Presented at Eastern Economic Association Convention, Boston,
MA, March. Available from the author at Andrew_Kliman@msn.com .
Kliman, A. 2000. Marx vs. the 20th-Century Marxists: A Reply to
Laibman. Forthcoming in J. Wells, A. Kliman, and A. Freeman (eds.), _The
New Value Controversy and the Foundations of Economics_ (Cheltanham, UK:
Kuhn, T. S. 1970. _The Structure of Scientific Revolutions_, 2nd ed.
(Chicago: Univeristy of Chicago Press).
Marx, K. 1977. _Capital: A critique of political economy_, Vol. I (New
York: Vintage Books).
Marx, K. 1981. _Capital: A critique of political economy_, Vol. III
(New York: Vintage Books).
Marx, K. 1986, 1988, 1989. _Karl Marx, Frederick Engels: Collected
Works_ (New York: International Publishers). 1986, Vol. 28; 1988, Vol.
30; 1989, Vol. 32.
Moseley, F. 2000. "The Determination of Constant Capital in the Case of
a Change in the Value of the Means of Production." Presented at Eastern
Economic Association conference, Washington, DC, March.
Planck, M. 1949. _Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers_ (New
Warnke, G. 1993. _Justice and Interpretation_ (Cambridge: The MIT
 My paper has recently been published (in English) in the 1999 issue
of Beiträge zur Marx-Engels Forschung (Neue Folge). On September 30,
posted a draft of the paper on the OPE-L e-mail list, in seven parts
(post numbers 1375-1381), under the subject heading "Determination of
Value." The posts can be downloaded from the OPE-L Archives,
 In case anyone would want to tell me that I am fantasizing, that
admissions of this sort do not occur, let me recall the case of Lucio
Colletti. Once an important Marxist philosopher with an international
following, a major figure in the school that attempted to turn Marx into
a positivist scientist, Colletti was finally forced to conclude that the
evidence was against him: "The contradictions of capitalism . are not,
for Marx, 'real oppositions' (as I too, following Della Volpe, believed
until yesterday), i.e., objective but 'non-contradictory' oppositions,
but are dialectical contradictions in the full sense of the word." Thus,
as Jay (1984:449) notes, "Forced to choose between Marxism and Science,
as he understood it, he [Colletti] chose the latter. . he ruefully
concluded that Marxism was a pseudo-science that had to be abandoned."
(The above quotation from Colletti can also be found in Jay's account.)
 The one exception to this rule that I recognize is that an
interpretation does not have to be able to replicate the original theory'
s conclusions if it can be *demonstrated* that the original is
self-contradictory. But I caution that to demonstrate
self-contradiction, one must show that there exists no possible
interpretation under which the original theory is found to be coherent.
Thus, if such an interpretation does exist, the allegation of
self-contradiction is thereby refuted. I and other proponents of the TSS
interpretation claim that it is such an interpretation. This claim can
be refuted in one of two ways only. One must demonstrate that the TSS
interpretation either contradicts some aspect of Marx's own theory (not
just a variant *interpretation* of that aspect) or is itself internally
inconsistent. In twenty years, this has not been done.
 All of the following passages presented in my paper -- eleven in
all -- explicitly indicate that the *precise magnitude* of the value
transferred from used-up means of production depends on their cost when
they entered production, not their post-production replacement cost:
* "[Production results in] the preservation of THE AMOUNT OF LABOUR
already objectified" in used-up means of production (Marx 1986:288,
* It "thus preserves THE PREVIOUSLY EXISTING VALUE of the capital" (Marx
1986:290, emphasis added).
* Raw materials and means of labor "add to the labour time contained in
the product ONLY AS MUCH LABOUR TIME as they themselves contained BEFORE
the production process" (Marx 1988:177, first emphasis added).
* The consumption of means of production increases the product's value by
"THE AMOUNT OF ITS OWN VALUE"; Marx further specifies that this means,
"to be precise, THE VALUE it has when it enters the process of
production" (Marx 1988:322-23, emphases added).
* A means of production "DOES NOT ADD MORE VALUE to the product than it
possessed before production. . As value, this part of capital therefore
enters unchanged into the production process and emerges from it
unchanged" (Marx 1989:362, emphasis added).
* "[T]he values of material and means of labour only re-appear in the
product of the labour process TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY . WERE VALUES
BEFORE they entered into the process" (Marx 1988:79-80, emphasis added).
* Although their values can change during the course of the process, this
"involves absolutely no alteration in the circumstance that in the labour
process into which they enter as material and means they are always
preposited as given values, values of a DEFINITE MAGNITUDE. For in this
process itself they ONLY EMERGE AS VALUES IN SO FAR AS THEY ENTERED as
values" (Marx 1988:79-80, emphases added).
* A change in the value of constant capital "never alters the fact that
in the process of production, into which it enters as a condition of
production, it is a postulated value which must reappear in the value of
the product. . it is A DEFINITE QUANTITY of past, objectified labour,
which passes into the value of the product as a determining factor"
(Marx 1988:413, emphasis altered).
* "[M]eans of production NEVER TRANSFER MORE VALUE to the product than
they themselves lose during the labour process by the destruction of
their own use-value" (Marx 1977:312, emphasis added).
* "The MAXIMUM LOSS OF VALUE the means of production can suffer in the
process is PLAINLY LIMITED BY THE AMOUNT OF THE ORIGINAL VALUE with which
they entered into it .." (Marx 1977:313-14, emphases added).
* The constant capital portion of a commodity's value is "THE value or
price at which these means of production went into the commodity's
production process" (Marx 1981:992, emphasis added).
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