[OPE-L:3658] Rakesh's interpretation

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Mon Aug 14 2000 - 13:45:58 EDT

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Hi Rakesh,

This is a partial reply to your various posts about constant capital, etc.,
not including your latest batch since you went to the library on Friday,
which I haven't had a chance to read yet. I am sorry I don't have the time
to keep up with you, but I should have more time this week. How soon is
the "end of your active time on OPEL? I hope not too soon and that you
will return in the near future.

It is not clear to me from your posts how you interpret Volume 1 and how
you define the key Volume 1 concepts of constant capital, variable capital,
and surplus-value. So I seek clarification.

As you know, I have argued that Volume 1 is mainly about money and that the
main phenomonon to be explained is dM, the increment of money that emerges
in the circulation of capital. I have argued further (with much textual
evidence) that the key concepts of constant capital, etc. are all defined
in terms of quantities of MONEY, as the main components of capital in
circulation. Capital itself is defined as "money that becomes more money",
through the process: M - C P C' - (M + dM). Constant capital and
variable capital are defined (in Chapter 8) as the two components of the
initial money-capital, M, that begins the circulation of capital.
Surplus-value is defined (in Chapter 4) as the increment of money, dM, that
emerges at the end of the circulation of capital and that is the main
phenomenon to be explained. These quantities of money-capital are
determined, according to Marx's theory, by quantities of labor-time, but
the DETERMINATION of these money quantities is a separate issue from their

Ajit, on the other hand, seems to accept the standard interpretation of
Marx's theory, handed down from Bortkiewitz through Sweezy, Meek, Dobb,
etc., according to which
Volume 1 is about labor-time quantities alone, unrelated to money.
Consistent with this interpretation of Volume 1, Ajit (and the standard
interpretation) defines the key concepts of constant capital, etc. in terms
of quantities of LABOR-TIME, as the labor-time quantities embodied in the
three main bundles of goods (means of production, means of subsistence,
surplus goods).

Rakesh, you seem to agree with me that Volume 1 is about money. However,
on the other hand, you also seem to agree with Ajit that the concepts of
constant capital, etc. are defined in terms of labor-times. Have I
understood you correctly? If not, please clarify. Or if so, how do you
explain this apparent contradiction? If the key concepts of constant
capital, etc. refer to labor-time quantities alone, then in what sense in
Volume 1 about the determination of money magnitudes? What other concepts
in Marx's theory refer to the money quantities that Volume 1 is supposed to
be about?

Thanks very much for your clarification. I look forward to further


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