[OPE-L:4515] Re: Re: "Don't go like that" (Was "What is Volume Iabout?")

From: Andrew_Kliman (Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com)
Date: Mon Nov 13 2000 - 10:26:28 EST

A brief reply to OPE-L 4514 (I'm rushing off to school):

Rakesh wrote
: Moreover, what is your formula for the determination of value?
: money laid out as constant and variable capital + surplus value = C?

Yes.  More precisely, a commodity's value is, and is determined by, the
value added by living labor plus the sum of value represented by the
money needed to acquire the used-up means of production.

: So any change in the money sum invested results in rising value or
: price (as monetarily expressed)?

No.  If variable capital (the value of wages advanced) differs from the
value of labor-power (or of means of subsistence), then surplus-value
likewise differs, in the opposite direction.  The sum of v + s always
equals the value added by living labor.  Calling it L, s = L - v.

: Then what of Ricardo's critique of Smith? Simply because wages--the
: money laid out as variable capital--rise does not mean the value
: objectified in the product and thus its price rise. If it did, class
: conflict would be attenuated. See TSV, pp. 417-8

According to the above, a rise in wages will not affect L and thus not
affect c + L.

: Rather the value of the product as determined by indirect and direct
: labor objectified therein is a prior and given magnitude which is
: then resolved into cost price (the replacment money costs of the used
: up c and v) and surplus value which vary inversely.

I agree with this.  I do not agree with your interpretation of the
concept of "indirect and direct
labor objectified therein."  The sum of value needed to acquire the means
of production is objectified labor and indeed value, represented in
money.  (I thus also deny that the passages you cite support your
interpretation, since they esssential refer to objectified labor, not the
value of the used-up means of production, as a determinant of value.  The
passage on p. 294 is also not relevant because it is non-definitional and
based on an assumption that the constant capital happens to equal the
value of the means of production.)

Rakesh claims that the following is "non-responsive":

: >Specifically, the already determined c and v have the form of
: >k.  The magnitude of k DOES NOT differ from the magnitude of c + v.
: >Part 1 of Vol. III.
: >
: >Yet in Marx's theory, k does differ, as you have acknowledged, from
: >values of the used-up means of production and subsistence.
: >
: >It therefore follows that c is not -- IS NOT -- the value of the
: >means of production.  Q.E.D.

I think it is responsive and indeed that it goes to the heart of the
matter.  Rakesh's whole argument is based on the notion that k deviates
from c + v.  I maintain that the text says otherwise.  How much more
responsive can one get?

Rakesh's reply, as far as I understand it, just restates his position.
It does not respond to my proof.

I deny that the passage on p. 309 of Capital III (Vintage) states or
implies that "The value of the means of production [... is] transferred
to the final product ...."  I interpret it as saying the opposite, namely
that the *cost price* of used-up means of production is transferred to
the product.  The crux of the whole matter, again, is whether k differs
from the magnitude of c + v.  I maintain that in Marx's theory it does
not.  I think Rakesh needs to adduce evidence that it does differ.

I had written that in Rakesh's interpretation, "The magnitude of
aggregate surplus-value clearly becomes
dependent on how it is distributed."  He has responded "Of course."

The problem is that Marx said the opposite.  There's direct evidence of
this -- I don't have time to locate it -- but also the very purpose of
the transformation discussion is to show that the magnitude of
surplus-value is determined in production, not in the market.  The total
is distributed differently, but unaltered in the aggregate.

: Surplus labor is the sole source of profit, but not its only


: However that total value is resolved into k and s,  s still remains
: entirely derived from unpaid labor. s is the excess value of a
: commodity over k (its cost price), which is paid direct and indirect
: labor.


: I see no threat to an exploitation theory of excess or surplus value
: in the way I have proposed.

OK, assume that, at time t, the value of the used-up means of production
is 30 and that their price is 10.  Assume that the value of labor-power
(or means of subsistence) happens to equal the value of advanced wages
(variable capital), say 15.  Assume that the value added by living labor
between times t and t+1 is 5.  Surplus-value should be 5 - 15 = -10.

But in your interpretation, surplus-value equals 30 + 15 = 45, the
"value" of the product, minus 10 + 15 = 25, the cost-price.  But 45 - 25
= 20.

Thus, surplus-value not only fails to be negative, it also exceeds the
value added by living labor!
This proves that under your interpretation, surplus-labor is NOT the sole
source of profit (or surplus-value).

I had written:
: >A man has his arm wrapped behind his head.  He tells his doctor, "Doc,
: >hurts when I go like this."  The doctor replies, "Don't go like that."
: >That is my advice to you as well.

Rakesh replied:
: What I am saying is surely not that difficult to understand.

No, it is easy to understand.  But you are caught up in internal
inconsistency after internal inconsistency.  It hurts when you go like
this, identifying c with the value of the used-up means of production.
So don't go like that.

Finally, Rakesh says something I can't respond to because I don't
understand it:

: The mp to be used may have sold at t-3 at 10 for the quantity to be
: used up at t. But if the price for that quantity is now 30, then its
: value will be higher. I won't say 30 because the price of 30 includes
: some price-value discrepancy. But one can assume that at such a
: higher price, the value of the means of production are also now
: higher. It is that "current" value which the means of production will
: now transfer to the commodity output.

Andrew Kliman

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