[OPE-L:4104] Re: Re: Revaluation (Steve)

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Mon Oct 16 2000 - 03:31:23 EDT

Hi John,

You're reading that quote as most people do, as a discussion of technical
change over time. And there is some foundation for that reading, since Marx
was considering technical change in the surrounding text. However, his
previous considerations had unconsciously presumed that the use-value of
the machine (the amount of value it could transfer to the product) was
equal to its exchange-value (the amount of value embodied in the machine).
This section of text came after Marx made his "discovery" of the dialectic
between use-value and exchange-value (about 100 pages earlier in the
manuscript), and from that point on Marx was applying this concept to all
manner of issues--eventually including technical change.

My point is that this issue of technical change inspired Marx to, for once,
properly apply his dialectical analysis of the commodity to
machineryt--where an essential aspect of that analysis was that use-value
and exchange-value are independent of each other. If so, then the
value-creating aspect of the machine (its use-value) differs from its value

As an exercise, why not compare this passage with the section of Capital I
where Marx tries to prove the conventional position, that a machine cannot
add any more value to output than it contains in its own value? In the
Progress Press edition, the relevant pages are 193-199--finishing, of
course, with the famous statement that "However useful a given kind of raw
material, or a machine, or other means of production may be, though it may
cost $150 ... yet it cannot, under any circumstances, add to the value of
the product more than $150."

At 23:14 15/10/00 -0400, you wrote:
>Hi Steve,
>You wrote in 4095:
>When Marx put this proposition to himself in terms of exchange-value and
>use-value, however, he made the following statement:
>"It also has to be postulated (which was not done above) that *the
>use-value of the machine significantly (sic) greater than its value*; i.e.
>that its devaluation in the service of production is not proportional to
>its increasing effect on production." (The Grundrisse, p. 383. Emphasis
>This would mean, of course, that the value transferred by the machine could
>exceed the value of the machine itself, which is the same case as for labor.
>My comment:   I don't get it.  My problem here starts with the quote from
>At first, he seems to be comparing the "use-value" for the machine with its
>But if we keep reading (after the ie) he seems to be comparing increases in
>productivity with the amount of devaluation.   That is, a 30% increase in 
>productivity will not lead to a 30% decrease in the value of the machine.  
>One way to make sense of his remark.
>Now how you get to the idea that the value transferred by the machine could
>the value of the machine is something I really don't see.
Dr. Steve Keen
Senior Lecturer
Economics & Finance
University of Western Sydney Macarthur
Building 11 Room 30,
Goldsmith Avenue, Campbelltown
PO Box 555 Campbelltown NSW 2560
s.keen@uws.edu.au 61 2 4620-3016 Fax 61 2 4626-6683
Home 02 9558-8018 Mobile 0409 716 088
Home Page: http://bus.macarthur.uws.edu.au/steve-keen/

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Oct 31 2000 - 00:00:09 EST