[OPE-L:4494] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what is Volume 1 about?

From: riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Sat Nov 11 2000 - 07:05:48 EST

At 5:40 +0100 10-11-2000, Fred B. Moseley wrote:
>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.

Sorry, Fred. I've no special equations. I agree with Foley's ones (see his
last paper in the RRPE), including the comments on you and on Brinkman
(acting as a bridge between the 'dual' interpretation and the monetary one).
>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

both: after the complete transformation the two diverge
>> >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).

no, it is taken as given after exploitation, i.e. after the use of labour
power in the labour process as subsumed under the valorisation process
>> 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?

it gives the capitalists, as a class, the power to decide the allocation of
workers and hence the division of production in goods available to the
working class and goods which are not available to the working class
>> 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?

in my view,(individual)  simple prices are an abstraction in the sense that
there is no 'real' (individual) counterpart, as an exchange ratio; but the
'macro' rate of surplus value is accurately expressed in labour values, and
it is quite 'real' (look at the distinction in Foley's paper, referring to
Brinkman, between 'surplus labour' and 'necessary' labour vs 'unpaid' and
'paid' labour). 'expression' means that they are assumed to be money
prices, hence they depend on some value of money.
>> 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.

I must think about this, but are you sure that never Marx defines the value
of labour power as the labour embodied in the means of subsistence? How
would you understand this quote from the 'Results':

"It is not the worker who buys the means of production and subsistence, but
the means of subsistence that buy the worker to incorporate him into the
means of production" (p. 1004 of the Penguin edition of vol. I)?

Or in vol. I, p. 274 this phrases: "the labour time necessary for the
production of labour-power is the same as that necessary for the production
of those means of subsistence; in other words, the value of labour-power is
the value of the means of subsistence necessary for the maintenance of its
owner". Here it would seem that "value of the means of subsistence" is
somehow related to the "labour necessary for the production of the means of


	Riccardo Bellofiore
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