# [OPE-L:3677] Re: Re: Re: Rakesh's interpretation

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Tue Aug 15 2000 - 20:13:59 EDT

>Rakesh,
>
>A quick comment and question for you to think about. In your latest
>posts, you do not seem to have answered my question of what exactly Volume
>1 is about. I say it is mainly about the determination of dM, which means
>that the explanation has to be in terms of money, and the concepts
>employed in this explanation (constant capital, variable capital, and
>surplus-value) have to be defined in terms of money (which indeed they
>are).
>
>Do you agree or disagree?

Fred, I can agree with this but still differ from your interpretation. That
is, let me agree with you that variable and constant capital are sums of
money laid out by the capitalist. But this only takes our question back one
step. What determines the value which is transferred from the means of
production in the production of a commodity (which is what I meant by
constant capital)?

If I accept your monetary definition of constant capital, then I am saying
that it does not determine the value transferred. Your money definitions of
constant and variable capital resolve into components of cost price.

However, what does determine the value transferred is the value of the
means of production consumed in a commodity, not the money price that was
paid or would have to be paid for the means of production.

So I can accept your monetary definitions of variable and constant capital
while then rejecting that the money sum of constant capital is what the
means of production transfer to the commodity. Marx could use the same term
constant capital for both the prices at which these means were bought and
the value which they transferred as long as he was assuming price=value.

If you want to reserve constant capital for the prices at which they were
bought, that's fine. I can agree with that only if we understand that this
is NOT the value which will be transferred from these means. This is what
Marx means by the modified significance of cost price once we have dropped
the price=value assumption.

Let me reiterate our agreement. In Marx's transformation tableau the
constant capital column indeed is given in terms of the prices which were
paid for the means of production. These numbers are not simple prices or
values but approximating on the prices of production at which these means
were sold in the immediately previous period. Our debate has always been
about what then determines the value which workers will transfer from these
means to the commodity output.

Yours, Rakesh

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