[OPE-L:3522] Re: determination of constant capital

From: Andrew_Kliman (Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com)
Date: Tue Jun 20 2000 - 18:04:33 EDT

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If been very busy, so unfortunately I haven't been able to keep up my end
of the correspondence with various folks. And I'm going to London soon,
so I won't be able to get to them for another 2 weeks at least. But I
have time for a quick reply to Fred's OPE-L 3458:

Fred writes:
: 1. Andrew argues (as I understand him) that the value transferred from
: given set of means of production is determined WHEN THESE MEANS OF

No. I suspect that this is the root of the whole misunderstanding.
"WHEN" is *not* the issue. A commodity's value, and thus the value
transferred from means of production to it, are *continually* being
valued and revalued, because value is determined by the cost of
*reproducing* the commodity.

The issue is BY WHAT. At any moment, an individual commodity's value,
and thus "transferred" component of that value, are determined BY WHAT
the value of newly produced commodities of that type happens to be. The
value transferred to the newly produced commodities is determined BY WHAT
the means of production used up in their production cost when they
entered into production.

Consider Marx's critique of Ramsay. The value of corn falls in half
during the second year. Marx holds that value is determined temporally.
Thus the value transferred from seed-corn planted at the *start* of year
2 is 2/qr, while the corn output at the *end* of year 2 is worth 1/qr.

That's a FACT.

So was Marx guilty of yet another internal inconsistency?

Did he violate his theory that value is determined by the labor-time
needed to *reproduce* a commodity?

Not at all. The definition of constant capital given above by no means
excludes the possibility of a change of value in its elements.

Stocks of corn still remaining from year 1, worth 2/qr when they were
produced, will be worth only 1/qr at the end of year 2. In year 3, new
seed-corn entering production will be worth 1/qr, so, once corn produced
under these conditions materializes (at the end of year 3), the
"transferred" component of the value of any stocks of corn remaining from
year 1 or year 2 will now only be worth 1/qr as well.

It's that simple.


Andrew Kliman

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