[OPE-L:5315] Re: Re: Re: double divergence

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 02 2001 - 05:38:32 EDT

Fred writes in 5311

>In Marx words:
>"Yet this possibility in no way affects the correctness of the principles
>put forward for commodities of average composition.  The quantity of
>profit that falls to the share of these commodities is equal to the
>quantity of surplus-value contained in them.  For the above capital, with
>its composition of 80c + 20v, for example, the important thing as far as
>the determination of surplus-value is concerned is not whether these
>figures are the expression of actual values, but rather what their mutual
>relationship is; i.e. that v is one-fifth of the total capital and c is
>four-fifths.  As soon as this is the case, as assumed above, the
>surplus-value v produced is equal to the average profit.  On the other
>hand, because it [the surplus-value; FM] is equal to the average profit,
>equal in practice to the commodity's VALUE.  In other words, an increase
>or decrease of wages in this case leaves K + P unaffected, just as it
>would leave the commodity's value unaffected, and simply brings about a
>corresponding converse movement, a decrease or increase, on the side of
>the profit rate."  (C.III:  309; emphasis added)

First, you don't quote the paragraph immediately above where Marx 
refers to the VALUE OF C, not the market price or price of production 
paid for those means of production, as THE CONSTANT CAPITAL. Of 
course that Marx is underlining that the 80c from his earlier 
transformation example is already in the form of price of production 
indicates, as you have been saying, that the inputs don't have to be 
transformed from values to price. Indeed in terms of the 
determination of values the opposite has to happen--the 
transformation from the price paid for the means of production to 
their value as embodied in the consumed means of production as they 
enter into the value of the output.  This is the inverse 
transformation problem.

Second, you have implicitly agreed that Marx is writing loosely here

You have already recognized that the formula for value determination cannot be

(1) K + S

since say a rise in the price of wage goods due to say rising ground 
rent payments would raise cost price but not the value of commodities.

So you proposed another formula (I think)

(2) c + mNV

So the second point which needs to be clarified here is that strictly 
speaking you do not agree with Marx in this particular passage on 
what the formula for value determination is!  So I don't see why you 
are hanging on it.

Third, let us remember that Marx refers to the problem of double 
divergence right after you and Alan F quote him in TSV III where 
there is no discussion of a commodity of average composition.

Fourth, you are taking the point out of context here in my opinion.

Marx is no longer interested in what determines the total value of 
the commodity and the two reasons why that value will diverge from 
the price of production of the commodity.

  In fact I don't think the heading (2. price of production of average 
commodity) should go until the commencement of the last uncompleted 
paragraph on p. 309
at which point Marx changes topics. Marx is now summarizing the 
results of the just completed chapter 11.

Marx's point, loosely speaking, is that the inverse relationship 
between wages (or cost price more generally) and surplus value holds 
for total capital as well as the imagined average commodity which can 
serve as a synedoche of total capital.

A change in the way the pie is cut could lead to the conclusion that 
it changes the size of the pie if we do not keep in mind total 
capital or the average commodity which is its imaginary synedoche.

I don't see why Marx cannot insist here that a change in the way the 
pie is cut does not change the size of the pie (using his imagined 
average commodity as a synedoche) while also arguing for two reasons 
for divergence without falling into gibberish. He may not have made 
the point clearly, and I be obfuscating it even more. But both points 
can be made cleanly.

Yours, Rakesh

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