[OPE-L:4427] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Technical change and general truths

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Fri Nov 03 2000 - 17:00:31 EST

This is a belated response to Steve K's (4371).

On Tue, 31 Oct 2000, Steve Keen wrote:

> Sorry Rakesh,
> But I regard this particular argument of Marx's:
> "As Fred says, the macro magnitudes are determined  prior to, and are 
> determinative of, the micro magnitudes of the rate of profit and the 
> prices of production (see also Blake, 1939; Mattick, 1983)."
> (for once I can't quickly locate the original by Marx, but I do know it)
> as one of the greatest kludges he ever attempted to pull. That capitalism,
> which is inherently a competitive class system, should somehow operate as a
> true collective of capitalists as to the division of surplus-value, I
> regard as pure nonsense.

Steve, this is harsh language.  Are you saying that it is logically
impermissible to assume that the total amount of surplus-value produced in
the economy as a whole is determined prior to the division of this total
amount into individual parts?  If so, on the basis of what grounds?

Marx did not argue that capitalists consciously act to collect all the
surplus-value before they divide it up.  But rather that the total amount
is LOGICALLY DETERMINED prior to the determination of the individual
parts.  The reason why Marx determined the total amount first is that,
according to his theory, all the individual parts of surplus-value have
the same source: the surplus labor of workers.  Capitalists certainly
compete over this division of the total surplus-value; but that does not
preclude the logical determination of the total prior to its

Marx called capitalists "hostile brothers": they are brothers in that they
all live off the surplus labor of workers, but they certainly have their
hostilities over the division of this booty.  

Why is this method of determination not permissible?


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