[OPE-L:4431] Re: Re: Part Two of Volume III of Capital

From: Duncan K. Foley (foleyd@cepa.newschool.edu)
Date: Fri Nov 03 2000 - 17:18:17 EST

I was just reporting on my thoughts after re-reading Part Two of 
Volume III. Marx doesn't seem to use the language of "determination" 
in the same way that we tend to. We think in terms of closed 
mathematical models with endogenous and exogenous variables, but I 
don't think Marx did. This might be why we get in such a tangle over 
trying to find "the" model that expresses Marx's idea.

All I was saying is that when I read it this time it seemed that he 
had in mind both the physical embodiment of capital in means of 
production, and the money expression of it.

If our task is to come up with a viable version of Marx that can 
survive, for example, Steedman's critiques, then that is a different 
question, and I think the money-based models are a good line to 


>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.

Duncan K. Foley
Leo Model Professor
Department of Economics
Graduate Faculty
New School University
65 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
messages: (212)-229-5717
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e-mail: foleyd@cepa.newschool.edu
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