[OPE-L:4732] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SV and the F of D

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Sun Dec 24 2000 - 02:03:15 EST

Well there is no Christmas for Jains, so I'll break the holiday 
silence. I am an atheist anyway.

Gil, you have caught me in a logical contradiction, to be sure, 
though you have been kind of enough to drive the point home (though 
please feel free to do so, i certainly don't want to be stuck with an 
interpretation or a theory which is fatally logically flawed--this is 
why i have sought every criticism of Ajit and Allin on the 
transformation issue; they both seem focused now not so much on the 
failure to transform the inputs but Marx's failure to include the 
money commodity, while I have argued that much like Newton assumes an 
inertial frame of reference,  Marx holds constant the value of and 
labor commanded by the unit of account throughout the three volumes 
of *Capital*, thereby ensuring that all changes in price are due to 
changes on the commodity side of the exchange relationship--this last 
point Grossmann emphasized).

As for our debate, I  have argued two contradictory things, so I do 
need to stick to one position as you have rightly said.  I would 
agree with you that in your merchant capital case there is indeed 
surplus value for the mercant capitalists even though the sum of 
value has not been increased through this circuit. As I have quoted 
Marx,  he himself underlines this possibility, but argues that if we 
first explain how the sum of value in circulation itself increases, 
then we will see how modern merchant capital is derived from this 
newly produced sum of surplus value. So there are two definitions of 
surplus value: one is the difference M' minus M in *the circuit of 
capital*, as you have rightly insisted, and this does not require the 
production of more value (this is also the definition I have used in 
my debate with Allin over the transformation problem); the other 
definition of surplus value--which I think is the more important one 
in chapter 5--is simply a greater sum of value at t+1 in the *system 
as whole* than at t.

You are absolutely correct that  given the claim of the nature of the 
substance of value, the sum of value cannot be greater at t+1 without 
an additional expenditure of labor, so circulation in itself cannot 
be the source of surplus value. In his critique of Condillac, I think 
Marx is trying to show that what circulation does then increase (for 
it does increase something) is the use values of commodities to their 
owners, not the aggregate exchange value in circulation. There is 
indeed something 'analytic' about the claim here, but I read it as a 
helpful demonstration and reinforcement of the new meanings of the 
concepts which Marx is developing. I would not dismiss it as mere 
tautology (hereI think you are being ungenerous); one gets a feel for 
new meanings exactly by working out 'analytical' truths like this.

  As I understand Marx, he fully recognizes that capitalists can 
obtain surplus value in the first sense without an increase in the 
value in circulation in the second sense. Do you agree that Marx 
himself notes this possibility in the form of commercial cheating 
near the end of ch 5?

In his theory as a whole--to which I simply don't think you are 
paying sufficient attention-- Marx is arguing modern merchant (and 
interest-bearing) capital derives from the additional sum of value 
produced out of the circuit of industrial capital at t+1. This is 
nothing more than the ABC's of Marx's  theory. Marx's chapter 6 
argument is that the industrial circuit of capital can only increase 
the value in circulation if it is labor power in the form of 
commodity that free wage workers, qua juridical persons, alienate, 
instead of their labor time. Out of this increase in the sum of value 
then  modern merchant and interest bearing capital is derived. The 
demonstration that in modern capitalism that the latter two forms of 
capital, though historically primary, now derive from industrial 
capital is what I have suggested is quite pregnant in its 
implications for the critique of the socialism of fools. There are 
other implications of this theory of the relationships among the 
forms of capital. But the great theoretical achievement here is to 
show how the oldest forms of capital become subordinate forms as 
commodity production has become generalized. Again the ABC's of 
Marx's historical dialectics.  Do you agree that there is an 
achievement of great significance here?

All the best, Rakesh

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Dec 31 2000 - 00:00:04 EST