[OPE-L:4115] Re: Re: Re: Revaluation (Steve)

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Mon Oct 16 2000 - 15:18:01 EDT

Hi Allin,

Your conclusion that "By this point Marx has worked out properly what he
wants to say.  The confusing statements in his earlier jottings have been
left behind. (?)" is the conventional interpretation. I read it in the
reverse: the earlier statements are made before Marx realised that there
was a contradiction between his historic analysis of the origin of surplus,
based on the distinction between labor and labor-power, and his now
analysis based upon the distinction between use-value and exchange-value.

I could go on to attempt to persuade you of this, but I won't. Instead, I
suggest you re-read the section of Capital where Marx first proves that
surplus-value emanates from labor. You will notice that Marx makes
*quantitative* comparisons between the use-value and the exchange-value of
labor--precisely the type of comparisons which you are uncomfortable with
in his discussion of machinery in the Grundrisse.


At 11:29 16/10/00 -0400, you wrote:
>On Sun, 15 Oct 2000, John Ernst quoted Steve quoting Marx:
>> "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
>> added.)
>and quoted Steve himself:
>> 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.
>and commented:
>> I don't get it.  My problem here starts with the quote from
>> Marx.
>> At first, he seems to be comparing the "use-value" for the
>> machine with its "value."  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.
>I agree with John.  That's the only way I can make sense of
>Marx's remark.  Percentage changes in value and physical
>productivity are commensurable, but use-value and value are not
>> Now how you get to the idea that the value transferred by
>> the machine could exceed the value of the machine is
>> something I really don't see.
>Me too.
>Steve then came back with:
>> 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).
>I can't make sense of this.  A use-value "equal to" an exchange
>value: how can that be parsed?
>> 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.
>It sounds to me as if this distinction has not yet stabilized in
>Marx's thinking.
>> 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."
>Comparison: By this point Marx has worked out properly what he
>wants to say.  The confusing statements in his earlier jottings
>have been left behind. (?)
>Allin Cottrell.
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 - 00:00:10 EST