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A partial reply to Fred's [OPE-L:3804]:
Variable capital is taken as given as a quantity of money capital, as in my interpretation,
I agree that in the narrow and specialized topic of the transformation of values to prices of production in Volume 3 of _Capital_, v is assumed to be a given quantity of money capital.
> > I would add that my methodological grounds for taking both constant
> capital and variable capital as given is similar to Duncan's own grounds
> for taking variable capital as given. Duncan argues that variable capital
> should be taken as given as the actual money wage because the actual
> exchange relation between capitalists and workers is in terms of money
> wages, not the real wage. In other words, variable capital refers to the
> actual quantity of money-capital used to purchase labor-power in the real
> capitalist economy, not to a hypothetical magnitude (the "direct price" or
> the "labor-value" of the means of subsistence) whose relation to the
> actual money wage is problematical.
> I agree completely.
Hold on. I thought we were talking about the transformation procedure in Marx rather than the "real capitalist economy". What happens in the real capitalist economy and whether we can observe prices of production in Marx's time or our own is another question, isn't it?
> And I also think that the same methodological
> principle also applies to constant capital as well as variable
> capital. Constant capital also refers to the actual magnitudes used to
> purchase means of production in the real capitalist economy, not to a
> hypothetical magnitude (the "direct price" or the "labor-value" of the
> means of production) whose relation to the actual money capital invested
> in the means of production is similarly problematical.
Again I would ask: are we dealing when discussing the transformation with a hypothetical, formal possibility or a process that actually happens in real capitalist economies.
It seems to me that when we move away from the specialized and narrow topic of the transformation to a more concrete level of abstraction that v should be taken as *variable rather than given*. The question then becomes what determines the variability of variable capital?
In solidarity, Jerry
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