[OPE-L:4485] Re: Re: Re: Re: what is Volume 1 about?

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Thu Nov 09 2000 - 23:40:02 EST

Hi Riccardo,

Thanks very much for your clarifications.  I hope you don't mind if I ask
for further clarifications below.  The main thrust of my questions is that
I would like to see your equations that express the various aspects of
your interpretation of Volume 1.  Without the equations, it is hard for me
to figure out what you are saying.

On Mon, 6 Nov 2000, riccardo bellofiore wrote:

> >2.  What questions are analyzed in the theory of the "process of
> >*production* of capital"?
> capitalist production as the production of surplus value, i.e. the origin
> of gross profits

Do you define surplus value or gross profits in terms of money or

> >Are there no quantitative variables determined?
> yes, total living labour and total necessary labour: i.e. the total
> exploitation time of the working class, and the total labour time embodied
> in the goods left available to <orkers (the 'subsistence'). 'macro'
> magnitudes which are independent from the rule governing 'micro'
> exchange-ratios.

How are these labor-time variables determined?  What are the equations of
determination?  Isn't total living labor taken as given, rather than
determined in Volume 1?  (I agree of course that Volume 1 is mainly a
macro theory).

> this class relation cannot be analysed without a vision of the capitalist
> process as a sequential monetary process.

What does this mean?  What role does the "sequential monetary
process" have in the determination of the above labor-time variables?  

> This must be done in vol. I with simple (money) prices expressing labour
> values.

How are the "simple (money) prices" determined?  What are the equations of
determination?  What does it mean that "simple prices EXPRESS labor
values".  Are they determined by labor-values?  

> This is why I see  as questionable the tendency to cancel 'labour values'
> in Marx's theory, as well as the redefinition of necessary labour in terms
> which denies that in vol. I this category was used by Marx as identical to
> the labour required to produce the means of subsistence. This is not
> against the fact that variable capital was a money magnitude, as long as
> the exchange relationship between the money commodity and the other
> commodities is regulated by 'simple prices'.
> There is an ambiguity in Marx's text on these points, and any reading that
> cancel this ambiguity is problematic.

"Necessary labor-time" is defined in Chapter 9, Section 1 (pp. 324-25), as
the labor-time required to reproduce the variable capital, or price of
labor-power (3 shillings in Marx's example).  

"But as we have seen, during that part of his day's labor in which he
PRODUCES THE VALUE of his labor-power, say 3 SHILLINGS, he produces only
an EQUIVALENT for the VALUE of his labor-power already advanced by the
capitalist; the new value created only REPLACES THE VARIABLE CAPITAL
ADVANCED.  It is owing to this fact that the production of new value of 3
shillings has the appearance of a REPRODUCTION.  I call the portion of the
working day during which this REPRODUCTION [of the 3 shillings] takes
place NECESSARY LABOR-TIME..."   (emphasis added)

Marx assumes here that money-value is produced at the rate of 0.5
shillings per hour; therefore "necessary labor-time" is 6 hours.  I don't
think there is any ambiguity in this definition of necessary
labor-time.  Necessary labor-time is defined as the time necessary to
reproduce a money magnitude, the variable capital advanced to purchase
labor-power.  Necessary labor-time (NLT) is not defined as the labor-time
required to produce the means of subsistence (Lms).

Although NLT is not defined in terms of Lms, NLT does DEPEND on Lms.  In
Volume 1, Marx assumes that the price of labor-power is proportional to
(Lms).  Under this assumption, NLT is equal to Lms.  However, NLT is not
DEFINED as (nor "identical to", as you put it) Lms.  It is only EQUAL to
Lms under the assumption of proportionality.  In Volume 3, when the price
of labor-power is no longer assumed to be proportional to Lms, then NLT
will still be defined as the time necessary to reproduce the price of
labor-power, but this will no longer be equal to Lms, although it will
still be determined primarily by Lms.  

Riccardo, thanks in advance for your clarifications.  I appreciate very
much your patience in explaining your interpretation of Volume 1.


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