[OPE-L:5393] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: turnover time and surplus value

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 09:58:38 EDT

A. the debate on turnover time

Issue #1:  Regarding the *effect of a change 
  in turnover time* (more specifically a 
  *decrease* in turnover time):

-- Paul C (5370) suggests that it represents a
decrease in the organic composition of capital.

-- Rakesh (5373 and elsewhere) suggests that it
represents a increase in the rate of surplus value.

-- I'm not quite sure what Michael P's and
Charlie's position on this issue is, although
Charlie (like Paul C) disagrees with Rakesh 
about the above.

Did I get the above right?  How do others on 
the list weigh in on this question?

Issue #2: *is variable capital only a flow or  is
  there a stock and flow of variable capital?*

-- Charles [5376] refers to the stock of
variable capital and argues [5380] that in the
formula for the rate of profit, both C and V
are stocks.

-- Paul C argues (5382) that variable capital
"should always be seen as a flow measure"

What is the take of others on this list about this
B. Re the discussion between Fred and Rakesh:

>From RB's [5390]:

> >  Our discussion has been about the
> > magnitude of surplus-value in Marx's
> > equation value = K + S.  My persistent
> > question has been: is the magnitude of
> > surplus-value in this equation the same as
> > or different from the surplus-value
> > determined in Volume 1?
> We are obviously talking past each other. The
> magnitude of surplus  value is always total
> value,  as monetarily expressed, minus cost
> price. That's what it is in vol 1; that's what it is
>  in vol 3.

Maybe you ARE both talking past each other.
Fred holds that the magnitude of surplus value
given in Volume 1 of _Capital_ is the same as
the magnitude of surplus value given in the
remaining 2 volumes. Rakesh believes that
Marx's presentation suggests that the magnitude
of surplus value may not be given by the
Volume 1 determination of its magnitude: from
that perspective, there is the POSSIBILITY,
according to RB, that the magnitude of surplus-
value can be diminished (if, for example, the
commodity output is not sold). These two
positions, perhaps, look more contradictory
than they are since _even if one accepts Fred's
position_ then the possibility nonetheless that
Rakesh refers to exists. I.e. I think we have a
"levels of abstraction" debate going on here since
Fred is focused in on the narrow question of the
magnitude of s assumed to exist in _Capital_
whereas Rakesh is focusing in on what can
cause the 'given' quantity of s to be changed.
In other words, Fred is discussing an exclusively
"_Capital_ question" whereas Rakesh is
discussing an issue that is not completely
resolved in _Capital_. Thus, perhaps he is
addressing a "post-_Capital_ question".  Or
perhaps I have misunderstood both of you?
In any event, my sense is that if one grants that
the magnitude of s that is assumed to be given
in Volume 1 is the same magnitude of s that is
assumed to be given in Volumes 2-3, then Fred
would be willing to grant -- or at least discuss the
possibility -- that the magnitude of s assumed
to be given in _Capital_ may not be the same
magnitude of s that is revealed at a more
concrete level of the analysis. (Indeed, Fred's
whole perspective on "givens" -- it seems to
me -- requires that the unfolding and deepening
analysis challenges what was assumed to be
"given" by the prior analysis and then explores
those subjects).

Rakesh went on to (re)write re 'double


This isn't a convincing argument -- in fact, I
don't think it is an argument at all. To begin with,
there is the assumption that the interpretation of
Marx which shows that he did not make a
mistake WINS.  This is a very dangerous way of
looking at any text -- including those by Marx.
All (earthly) authors make mistakes. Thus, in
addressing interpretive questions, we can not
grant the interpretation which holds that the
author was correct any special privilege over
interpretations which allege an inconsistency
or logical error.  It may therefore be found, upon
closer examination, that the interpretation which
holds that Marx was not in error either WINS
OR LOSES. The point, after all, is not to prove
that he was entirely 'correct' and 'consistent',
is it?

Moreover, let us not forget that we're only
talking about a few sentences in Volume 3 and
that what became Volume 3 under the
editorship of Engels was only a DRAFT.
Would it be out-of-line to suggest that there is
a FAR GREATER possibility for inconsistency
and logical mis-formulations in drafts than in final
copy  prepared by the author him/herself for
publication?    If the drafts for all of your
writings were published following your death,
would YOU be happy in your grave?

Having raised this last question, I should add that
I think that Engels did the world a great service
by preparing Volumes 2 and 3 for publication.
This doesn't mean, though, that he didn't make
mistakes or that we can ever forget that the drafts
that Engels had to work with were DRAFTS.

In solidarity, Jerry

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