[OPE-L:5239] Re: Re: Re: [Mike W] Re: use-value as quantitative

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Thu Mar 22 2001 - 11:34:22 EST

re 5231

>  So they try to find measures of the "qualitative improvement" of 
>capital. (The new machine, which costs the same as the old one, can 
>shape twice as many pieces of metal or execute twice as many 
>instructions.) This is completely foreign to the Marxian/Classical 
>(and even /Sraffian) way of looking at capital, and, as far as I can 
>tell, just adds confusing noise to the macroeconomic data. If, as 
>Marx argues, the use-value of a machine to the capitalist is the 
>amount of wage cost it saves, changes in the concrete performance of 
>the machine are irrelevant.

Hi Duncan,
It seems to me that Marx is not so exclusively interested in the 
value surplus at the expense of use value. For example,   Marx 
criticizes Ricardo for only being concerned with net revenue (pure 
profit), the value surplus of price over costs, and not gross 
revenue, i.e., the mass of use values necessary for the subsistence 
of the working population.  Marx criticizes Ricardo precisely for 
only figuring these use values as costs which are to be pushed down 
as low as possible. So for an employer who makes $2000 profit on a 
capital of
$20,000--10%--it is utterly irrelevant whether his capital sets 100 
or 1000 people into motion...as long as in all instances profit does 
not fall below $2,000. Since as you say above anything other than 
this value surplus is, as you say above, noise to the macroeconomic 
data, Marx writes: "By denying the importance of gross revenue, i.e, 
the volume of production and consumption--apart from the value 
surplus--and hence denying the importance of life itself, political 
economy's abstraction reaches the peak of infamy."

Moreover, as I suggested in my last post, the expansion in the mass 
of use values in which a given sum of value is represented is indeed 
of great INDIRECT significance for the valorization process. For 
example,  with an expanded  mass of the elements of production, even 
if their value is the same, more workers can be introduced into the 
productive process and in the next cycle of production these workers 
will be producing more value.

There is indeed for Marx a dialectic of use value and value in more 
than just the consumption of labor power. Steve credits Rosdolsky for 
rescuing this key element of Marx's theory. But if Steve were to 
study the footnotes of Rosdolsky, he will find that he is drawing 
from Grossmann's work. In both HG's magnum opus and dynamics book 
there is attention to said dialectic.

Yours, Rakesh

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