Re Steve K's [OPE-L:5177]: Didn't we discuss the _Grundrisse_ quote, on a long deceased list, over 5 years ago? At the time didn't John E and you exchange long posts full of numerical illustrations about this? What did you find unsatisfactory with John's answers? I recall that someone else, whose name I will not mention, engaged you in an extended discussion of that quote and your perspective as well. In any event, before you *jump to conclusions* (like the ones that appear below), let's consider the quote *in context*. The quote is: "Here, it must be assumed (and this was not assumed above) that the use value of the machine is significantly greater than its value, i.e. that its depreciation in the service of production is not proportional to its effect in increasing production" (_Collected Works_, Vol. 28, p. 309). Note that he begins the sentence with "Here". Yet, you have made no attempt to put that quote in the context of what "Here" means. See both the beginning of the paragraph and the several paragraphs beforehand in which "This example" is discussed. Note, then, what *follows* your quote: "So, assume, as above, a printing press: the first a printing press operated manually and the second a *self-acting* printing press" (Ibid) and the example that then follows. In what follows (and was written beforehand), I see no support for your interpretation. If you think that this section of the _Grundrisse_ supports your interpretation that it seems to me that you have to show that the examples that Marx gives (especially the examples after the quote you cited) lend credence to your interpretation. (NB: as the magnitude of use-value can not be measured as in marginalist theory by the artificial measure of "utils", what Marx writes in the quote above is confusing. I.e. there *is no way of determining* whether the "use value of the machine is significantly greater than its value"). Perhaps what we need to do is discuss the difference between *individual and social value*. The subject of *moral depreciation* (of which we have had *lengthy* discussions on this list) also comes to mind. The *release and tying-up of capital* (discussed in Volume 3, Ch. 6, section 2) might also be brought to bear on the discussion. ------------------- If your question, however, boils down to the following: isn't the postulate that there is an increase in use-value and value transferred to the commodity over and above the value of the means of production inconsistent with Marx's perspectives on the creation of surplus-value? ... then I will offer an answer. Marx does not claim here or elsewhere that the value transferred to output by means of production is greater than the *social value* of the means of production. He only claims that the value transferred by the means of production is equal to *or less than* (with moral depreciation, the latter), the value of the means of production. Yet, the transfer of value to output from the means of production *can* increase. This would not be the case if we hold fast to the assumption that the means of production depreciate in a linear and uniform manner, as with straight-line depreciation. With straight line depreciation if an element of constant fixed capital depreciates fully over a five year period (assuming no moral depreciation), then if the value of the fixed capital is 100 the *transfer of value* would take the following form: Year Transfer of Value ------ ------------------------ 1 20 2 20 3 20 4 20 5 20 Total: 100 Yet, there is nothing in Marx's conception of value that requires that the transfer of value happens in a linear way. To the extent that straight-line depreciation is assumed in most of Marx's numerical examples, I think it represents only a *simplifying assumption* which can be dropped at a later stage of analysis -- as I suggest below. Here's another example where the transfer of value happens in a *non-linear* way: Year Transfer of Value ------ ------------------------ 1 10 2 20 3 30 4 10 5 30 Total: 100 Notice that there is an *increase* in the *annual rate* of value transferred in Years 2 and 3, followed by a *decrease* in the value transferred in Year 4, followed by an *increase* in the value transferred in Year 5. Of course, this is a hypothetical illustration (as are many of Marx's other examples), but there is *nothing* inconsistent with the 2nd example *if* the transfer of value can be thought of as happening unevenly (in a non-linear form) in a temporalist setting. Thus, it can *appear* that the value transferred by the means of production is greater than the value of the means of production but if one views this process in a temporal setting there can be uneven annual transfers of value where there are some periods when the value transferred increases even where the total value transferred remains equal to (or less than) the value of the means of production. I think that the above can also be connected to the subject of the release and tying-up of constant fixed capital. In solidarity, Jerry PS: we did have some recent discussions on this list about the world economic crisis, including the situation in Japan and S. Asia as well as the prospects for a downturn in the US economy. You were here, so you should remember. In any event, I haven't see more insightful discussions on that subject among Marxists on any other list. PPS: the question of *where* an analysis of value as a non-linear and temporal process should be placed is not discussed above, but I think it depends on the "level of abstraction" of the particular subject under investigation. But what do you and other Marxists make of this statement: "It also has to be postulated (which was not done above) that the use-value of the machine significantly greater than its value; i.e. that its devaluation in the service of production is not proportional to its increasing effect on production."(Footnote: *Grundrisse*, op. cit., p. 383.) That is *precisely* my interpretation of Marx's theory of value: that the use-value of machinery is significantly greater than its exchange-value. Note that I am quoting Marx here. With that one statement, *Marx* contemplates that "means of production create new value". This contemplation is a direct *and accurate* implication of his philosophy. I have yet to have any Marxist economist provide an interpretation of this statement which is consistent with the labour theory of value.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Apr 02 2001 - 09:57:29 EDT