[OPE-L:5247] Re: Re: Re: Re: [Mike W] Re: use-value as quantitative

From: Duncan K. Foley (foleyd@cepa.newschool.edu)
Date: Fri Mar 23 2001 - 17:46:37 EST

Hi Rakesh.

You remind us of some good points Marx made about Ricardo's world 
view, but I was talking more narrowly about the concept of the 
"use-value" of a machine.


>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

Duncan K. Foley
Leo Model Professor
Department of Economics
Graduate Faculty
New School University
65 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
messages: (212)-229-5717
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e-mail: foleyd@cepa.newschool.edu
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