[OPE-L:5060] RE: Reply to Andrew on "Proof"

From: Drewk (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Date: Sat Feb 24 2001 - 03:23:53 EST

In reply to Paul Zarembka's OPE-L 5001.

He wrote:

"I'm at a loss, Andrew.  Where does Marx "prove" that Ic (means of
production in Dept. I? -- please confirm the meaning of the
symbol) is not
limited by the extent of the market (without referring to
'stretching out'
of the Illustration 1 in Marx)?  Note that I'm still not
interested in
extended reproduction, only the issue of what constitutes

Yes, by Ic I meant the means of production (c) of Dept. I.

Paul's question is very intriguing to me, and not easy to answer.
I've had to go through the last part of Vol. II again, and I
really should go through the discussion of reproduction in the
TSV, but I haven't yet.  The main problem is that Marx doesn't say
his intention is to prove that Ic is not limited by the extent of
the market for consumer goods.

It is rather that the schemes themselves prove this, IMO.  The
proof is accomplished by Marx's division of the social product
into means of production and articles of consumption; by his
decomposition of the different parts of the product in terms of
their components; and by his tracing the destinations of the
various components.  The tracing of the destinations of the
various parts of the total social product reveals that neither
workers, nor capitalists as individuals, buy Ic for purposes of
personal consumption.  Nor do the capitalists who produce consumer
goods buy Ic as means of production.  As far as Ic is concerned,
Department I buys from itself and sells to itself.  The extent of
its demand for its own stuff is thus what sets the limit to how
much of its own stuff it supplies to itself.

The most relevant passages in Vol. II are the discussion of the
constant capital in Dept. I in Ch. 20 and the additional constant
capital in Ch. 21.  But it is the construction as a whole that I
think constitutes the proof.

But is it really a proof?  I think so.  By proof here, I mean
deductive proof.  I do not see that anything more needs to be
said, nor do I see a possible way of challenging Marx's deduction
that demand for Ic comes from Dept. I itself, not consumers.

But is it really Marx's proof?  I'd prefer to say no, because I
think that conveys a sense that it was his intention to prove
this.  Is it the proof of those who recognized the implications of
the schema?  Again, I'd prefer to say no -- this is not quite the
same as the phlogiston case that Engels and Althusser discuss.
I'd prefer to say that the proof was "recognized" rather than
"discovered" by later commentators.  And so I'd prefer to say that
"Marx's work" or "Marx's reproduction schema" or "the reproduction
schema" or "Vol. II" prove the point.

I had written that the existence of political motivations "doesn't
mean we can't apply objective and rational methods to assess
arguments and evidence.  It seems to me that people's motives have
nothing to do with whether their arguments, theories, etc. are
true or false."

Paul responded:

"I have no such overriding confidence in intellectuals; how come I
cannot convince my colleagues to learn Marx?.  Nor do I think
there is an "absolute" truth that is knowable (Lenin comes to
mind here)."

I didn't mean to express confidence, and in fact I have no such
confidence.  I only meant that we *can* (in principle) apply
rational and objective methods, not that we *do* so.  I was
reacting to the argument one hears frequently that none of us is
objective (right) and therefore none of us can act in an objective
manner (wrong).

I don't understand the reference to Lenin.  And when you deny that
"absolute" truth "is knowable," do you mean "will be known" or
"can in principle be known"?


Andrew ("Drewk") Kliman
Dept. of Social Sciences
Pace University
Pleasantville, NY 10570 USA
phone:  (914) 773-3968
fax:  (914) 773-3951

Home:  60 W. 76th St. #4E
New York, NY 10023 USA

"The practice of philosophy is itself theoretical.  It is the
critique that measures the individual existence by the essence,
the particular reality by the Idea."

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