[OPE-L:4068] Revaluation

From: John Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Date: Thu Oct 12 2000 - 15:06:44 EDT

RE:  Alejandro's 4061
In #4061, Alejandro wrote: 

John E in #4057:

"I think there is a question of how we look at things here.  For example, 
if a capitalist has $100 worth of stock at beginning of production and
that stock is worth $50 at the end of the period,  has not $50 of stock
been "used up"?


No, this stock has been "revaluated", not "used up". The revaluation
concerns the social productive conditions in which it can be reproduced
now. The "using up" concerns the stock as a use value, the "natural" aspect
of commodity, instead of its aspect as a product of the social human labor.

My comment:
For Marx, depreciation includes both that due to natural causes and
that due to social aka moral causes.   Hence, I think you're now
revising Marx.   I'm not sure why you're doing this.  Indeed, should 
we pursue the path you propose, we would have to abandon the idea
that the output of production processes can be seen as the sum of
c,v, and s.   Rather the output would be the sum of c,v,s, and x
where x is the loss or gain due to what you call "revaluation."

John E.
"Must we look at physical units involved to determine the value "used up:?"

I think so and I think this is Marx's position in a passage like this:

"...it follows that in the labor process the means of production transfer
their value to the product only in so far as they lose their exchange value
*along with their independent use value." I, Penguin, p. 311.

My comment:  It seems to me that you would prefer that Marx rewrite
this to say  "... only in so far as they lose their independent use
value along with their exchange value."

John in #4060, replying Julian:

"You then face the problem of how to account for the missing $50...


Well, I'd say that it's a lost, similar to what happened if half of the
stock had been, let's say, burnt...

My comment:  But these "fires" are always happening in capitalism. Much
of the "damage" they do is fully anticipated.  That is,  when an investment
takes place,  the time over which depreciation takes place is not 
computed on the physical life of the asset but its economic or social
life.  As I recall from discussions with Andrew K. on this list, Marx
in V2 treats insurance payments or losses due to fire as deductions 
from surplus value.   Generally, he treats losses due to revaluation 
as depreciation in the "moral" sense.


"Further, you seem to take the position that one type of depreciation
transfers value to the output and the other type does not.


I think so. The difference is that in one case there is an effective
consumption of the input in order to produce another commodity.

My comment: You now seem to have introduced still another term to get 
around Marx on this one --  "effective consumption."


"....I think you then face the question of why moral depreciation is to be
labeled "depreciation" at all."


I'd say that a better name is "lost due to revaluation" (or alternatively,
"gain due to revaluation").

My comment:  I'm not at all sure why you depart from Marx on this stuff.
What is to be gained?


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