[OPE-L:4367] Re: Part Two of Volume III of Capital

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Mon Oct 30 2000 - 07:16:43 EST

This is a belated response to one of the points Duncan raised in (4099).

On Sun, 15 Oct 2000, Duncan K. Foley wrote:

> 1) Marx's distinction between the technical and value compositions of 
> capital seems to point toward the modern Sraffian notion of a 
> technique of production determined prior to or at least separate from 
> prices and the profit rate. (Here I think I agree with Ajit.)

Duncan, would you please clarify what you are suggesting here?

I would agree that Marx specified the physical quantities of inputs and
outputs, separate from prices and the rate of profit and other monetary
variables.  But the key issue is: what role do these physical quantities
play in Marx's theory, and especially in the determination of the key
variables of constant capital, variable capital, and surplus-value?  

Duncan, are you suggesting that these key variables are determined as in
the Sraffian interpretation, i.e. that they are derived from the given
physical quantities?  What role do you think the TCC plays in Part 2 of
Volume 3?

This also raises again the issue of how constant capital, variable
capital, and surplus-value are defined.  Before we can talk about the
determination of these variables, we first need to have a clear
understanding of how these variables are defined: in terms of labor-values
of bundles of goods (as in the Sraffian interpretation) or in terms of
quantities of money-capital (as in the monetary interpretation).  

Duncan, as I understand your interpretation (from your writings), you
define these key variables in terms of money, right?  If so, this would be
a fundamental disagreement between your interpretation and the Sraffian
interpretation, and we would agree on this issue.

If we indeed agree that constant capital, variable capital, and
surplus-value are defined in terms of money, then we could proceed to the
question of whether or not these monetary variables are derived from given
physical quantities.  And to the question of the role of the TCC in Part 2
of Volume 3.

Thanks in advance for your clarification.


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