[OPE-L:2977] Reply to Andrew on Definitions [was 2975]

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Tue May 02 2000 - 08:54:33 EDT

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"Andrew_Kliman" <Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com> said, on 05/02/00 at 12:53
AM: >:...do you care about
>: the definitions in Marx of mode of production, relations of production,
>: productive forces, value, surplus value, constant capital, variable
>: capital, production of absolute surplus value, production of relative
>: surplus value, rate of profit? [Paul Z.]

>I care to the extent that there are some *consequences* of the
>definition. That's what I'm asking about here. So what if he didn't
>define accumulation? What are the consequences?

>BTW, I do not believe it was Marx's general practice to define terms
>already in use. [Andrew K.]

    1. None of the terms I mentioned were in general use, except "rate of
    2. Marx DID define accumulation "Hitherto we have investigated how
surplus-value emanates from capital; we have now to see how capital arises
from surplus-value. Employing surplus-value as capital, reconverting it
into capital, is called accumulation of capital." I argue that this
definition, however, is ambiguous and that "accumulation of capital" has
become a almost a "catch-all" phrase (a disservice to scientific thought).

    3. As to the consequences of this or any other definition, it gets to
the heart of Marxist political economy and, to do it right, requires at
least a book. I have some ideas but they are much too underdeveloped at
this point. Marx commented that the French are too impatient with getting
to immediate applications and that point applies here.

>... I say that demand for means of production
>can ultimately outstrip demand for consumer goods. You say it cannot. So
>how can I demonstrate to you that it can? I'm aware that (for reasons
>that are unclear to me) you do not accept existing demonstrations that it
>can. I don't want to waste my time presenting another demonstration that
>you will likewise reject for one reason or another. So what I want to
>know is what you *would* accept as a demonstration. What conditions does
>the demonstration need to satisfy? What will you allow and not allow
>(e.g., homogeneous means of production, input substitution, etc.)?

I'm not even sure I understand the way you pose the question: "demand for
means of production can/cannot ultimately outstrip demand for consumer
goods". I never used that formulation and neither did Luxemburg.
However, I have a vague idea what you are asking, will keep it in my mind
and will think about what I think is your implicit rewording into a
demand/supply framework (if incorrect, please let me know now).

Thanks, Paul Z.

P.S. On TSS, I guess I don't know the 20-year history you mention so I
cannot respond knowledgably.

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