[OPE-L:7580] Re: Re: Re: Chris A on VF theory

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Sun Sep 01 2002 - 07:22:36 EDT

At 0:39 +0100 31-08-2002, Christopher Arthur wrote:

I  may kill you next time ... 8-)

>This is interesting - you really think we form a 'school' of two?? What do
>others think of thepara below?

school is a big word. I mean that on this point I do not see others 
whos share exactly the same point, with the same centrality. but I 
hope I'm wrong, of course ...

>I query this point about wages. First it is necessary to distinguish
>empirical matters and conceptual matters.
>1) Empirically in no case whatever are wages advanced prior to labour (for
>obvious reasons).  So the only question is whether they are advanced prior
>to sale of output. Here there are enormous variations, starting with a
>comparison of wage perodicity and production period. the former With casual
>labour may be a day but it may be a year when agricultural labourers were
>paid out of the proceeds of the harvest; I beleive weekly is the norm. On
>the latter Anyone who has ever employed a small building firm will be
>familiar with demands to 'pay something on account' to keep the cash flow
>in balance while the job is being done.
>  I seem to remember Geert claiming that today workers are generally paid
>after the sale of the output; so this would destroy your position
>completely empirically if it were true (which I doubt). Incidentally I very
>much doubt bank loans are for wages empirically; I guess they are for
>But IMO the key issue is not empirical but conceptual.
>2) I think it is very important at a volume 1 level not to have wages paid
>in advance because this strongly suggests it is a value input to production
>and should hence be transferred along with c. Absolutely central to Marx is
>that labour produces its own wages as  part of the added value, so
>conceptually, when studying the 'constitution' of capital, both the wage
>and the sv are ex post. But c counts as input regardless of credit
>arrangements empirically.
>Now assume this is understood and we have already constituted capital
>circulating. Here the question of before or after becomes indeterminate in
>the sense that expenditures and receipts happen continuously. But in
>calculating  its profit in its annual accounts wages come into cost price
>regardless of when paid.
>(BTW I raise the issue of whether 'variable capital' is correct terminology
>given it is not v that varies since it does not appear as a constituent of
>final value but only as a deduction from it. Any 'variation' is due to the
>absorption of living labour which is not a value at all.)

this is interesting, but I can't answer now, I'm leaving for some 
time. I'll come back, I ater I hope. I agree with 2, however, about 
wages in the value added. on the capitalist circuit, we defintely are 
NOT a shooll (so I'm reduced to a school of one: which means, more or 
less, I'm crazy).

>?? Abstract labour *is* immediately social

disagree: it is a process, for me: it is in production 'latent', and 
though the SAME activity it is  the opposite of  concrete labour 
which is 'becoming' abstract labour in the full sense of the world, 
yes: with final abstraction completed in the phase of exchange, but 
still the abstract labour in the commodity it is not IMMEDIATELY 
money. money is *immediately* social.

I cannot elaborate here, for the hurry, but I guess you may 
understand what I mean from Napoleoni 75, and some Rubin.

>- that is the point of its
>replacing concrete labour which is not - of course it requires money for it
>to exist.

that OF COURSE it's definitely not irrelevant in our disagreement.

>If you mean abstract labur in production then to avoid Alfedo's criticicism
>one still has to say this production socially determined production not

indeed, it is not strictly private, that's another point on which II 
change relative to Napoleoni, it is, so to speaked, something which 
has a preliminary, uncertain sociality (R&W pre-commensuration, plus 
ante-validation, on which de Brunhoff is useful). there is a paper in 
French of Bidet which also goes this way.

>But I agree about competition.


>>so, as you see, from my interpretation, both initial and final
>>moments of circulation are deeply affecting production. but this
>>influences, which are powerful, are effective ONLY IN SO FAR the
>>counterproductivity of labour is won. this, again, is the CENTRALITY
>>of production, and of class struggle, in my (our?) approach. and this
>>we have only in (our?) Marx. no other social scientist ventured
>>there. and this is why I became a Marxian (if I may claim this label).
>Yes. I think we pretty well agree. The problem is in the terminology. Every
>Marxist says production is central. So what VF must stress is that the
>terms are set by its being production for exchange which deeply penetrates
>it e.g. for me it is impossible to explain from production as such why time
>is of the essence (and why only certain time counts), it can only be done
>from the capital form.

well, about terminology I have to confess ...

>The sense in which production is central is that the
>material existence of the surplus depends upon winning the calss struggle
>at th pointof production.

I agree COMPLETELY with yours, and may I put forward that I  always 
EXPLICITELY denied that from production AS SUCH cannot explain why 
time is of the essence (indeed, this caution has always been one of 
my KEY points, I don't  know why somebody can guess otherwise; btw, 
one of the most contested thing of mine, the method of comparison, 
has here its birth). and I also would accept, line by line, this last 
sentence, indeed I thought I wrote it  several times with the same 
terminology. so we here we are the same.

>  >
>>(a) I say, relative to the beginning of Capital, that the referring
>>of labour to value is not-convincing, and you say something similar.
>>but, unlike you, I am ready to accept this reference as a
>>preliminary, subjective argument to be posited elsewhere in Capital,
>>vol I, in the further development of value form determinations. that
>>is: you prefer not to speak of labour as some immaterial substance of
>>'value' until you come into the immediate production process.
>>this difference is not very relevant to me. I mean:  can FULLY accept
>>your argument without changing almost nothing in my approach. I
>>simply (as in other places) I try to reconstruct Marx's argument with
>>the least changes as possible (and, as you know, this notwithsanding,
>>I have to change a lot!).
>>this is for me is an instance of the positing of the presupposition.
>>BUT when what was presupposed is eventually posited, we see a BIG
>>change. the 'hypothesis' of labour value in the first chapter of
>>Capital was FORCED to refer to 'naturalistic', 'energetic',
>>'physicalist' elements, giving some ground to Ricardian readings of
>>Marx (Geert is at his best here). when the presupposition is posited,
>>this qui pro qui disappears. completely.
>Yes OK but we do not *have* to presuppose it

may you expand?

>>(b)   another instance of positing the presupposition is relative to
>>money. money as equivalent is deduced at the beginning of Capital
>>>from general commodity exchange, in the stage of the argument when
>>the concept of capital has not been developed. when this develepment
>>happens, as you know, I think that the element of finance becomes
>>more and more central, and that this finance dispels the impression
>>that the general equivalent must be money as a commodity. so, I have
>>labour theory of value without money commodity.
>OK but I think ch 1 is a necessary stage in the derivation of M as form
>regardless of LTV.

I think I may agree here, that is that though Marx did that 
(interpretation) it is not necessary (reconstruction).

>Sure - dialectics sees only the completed form grounds the simpler (whether
>logically or historically).
>So if we could argue the separation was necessary to the concept of capital
>in general (not just a convenience e.g. for centralising hoards) then we
>could agree. It seems to me that expositionally we first study competition
>in commodity markets for sales, and then study 'competition for capital'
>when each industrialist tries to raise funds.'Competition for capital'
>closes the concept that began with competition between capitals. I think
>Sekine said this about 'capital as a commodity'.

yes, I would like to move this way, but here I have not completely 
settled opinions. I'm ashamed. I have Sekine, but I've not yet read 


Riccardo Bellofiore
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
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