[OPE-L:4751] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SV and the F of D

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Tue Jan 09 2001 - 20:49:58 EST

Marx is saying that Condillac confuses what you call consumer surplus and
surplus value because he conflates use value and exchange value. Marx
also agrees that commodities have to have a social use value if they are
to be values at all, so I don't get your point.

This computer is very slow, but as I scroll down I see that you discuss
now (I believe for  the first time) how Marx says merchant capital will
fit into his complete  theory.

Now you say that Marx does not prove that the industrial circuit of
capital is necessary. So what? He argues it systematically increases the
value in circulation unlike merchants capital (considered solely in its
circulation role). I don't see how Marx is trying to prove the necessity
of or deduce the necessity of the circuit of industrial capital by means
of wage labor. He is arguing that this latter circuit has certain features
(the ability to systematically increase the value in circulation because
workers, qua juridical persons, alienate their labor power rather than
their labor time); this historically ascendant form of capital now comes
to dominate the forms of capital which historically preceded it. Marx thus
gives us an explanatory order for the forms of capital--a way of talking
about them and how they are related. He is not deducing the circuit of
industrial capital from the first principle of surplus value.

Yours, Rakesh

> >  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?
> He actually doesn't "note" this explicitly, but I agree he doesn't
> explicitly rule it out.  He rather notes explicitly the possibility that
> surplus value can arise from the circuit of merchants' capital *without*
> the need for "commercial cheating," but that it goes beyond the scope of
> the immediate argument to explain this.  Here's the relevant passage:
> "If the valorization of merchants' capital is *not* to be explained merely
> by frauds practised on the producers of commodities, a long series of
> intermediate steps would be necessary, which are as yet entirely absent,
> since here our only assumption is the circulation of commodities and its
> simple elements." [p. 267, emphasis added]
> That's from the Fowkes translation.  The Aveling and Moore translation
> makes this point even more clearly:
> "If the transformation of merchants' money into capital is to be explained
> *otherwise* than by the producers being simply cheated, a long series of
> intermediate steps would be necessary, which, at present, when the simple
> circulation of commodities forms our only assumption, are entirely
> wanting." [p. 161, International Publishers, emphasis added.]
> Marx does go on to say, as you suggest below, that merchants' and
> interest-bearing capital are "derivative forms," which, especially in light
> of his Volume III analysis, might be read as saying that they can derive
> surplus value only from its fount in the circuit of industrial capital.
> But one of my points is that Marx has not validly established that the
> circuit of industrial capital is necessary in the first place.
> >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.
> I realize that Marx asserts this.  My point is that he has not validly
> established that the circuit of industrial capital is necessary in the
> first place, and thus has not established that the alternative circuits of
> merchants' and interest-bearing capital are necessarily derivative.
> Considering his repeated insistence elsewhere that these circuits *did*
> systematically yield surplus value in the era prior to the capitalist mode
> of production, an argument is certainly called for.

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