[OPE-L:7668] Re: Re: Moving on...

From: Gil Skillman (gskillman@mail.wesleyan.edu)
Date: Sun Sep 15 2002 - 18:08:11 EDT

Fred, thanks again for the references and the extensive summary of your 
argument.  With your leave, I'd like to take it step by step, in order to 
figure out where our points of necessary disagreement are, if any exist.

Your first point:

>1. C and V taken as given, as quantities of money-capital
>I argue that, in Marx's theory, the quantities of constant capital and
>variable capital are TAKEN AS GIVEN, PRESUPPOSED, as the two components of
>the initial money capital (M) invested in the first phase of the
>circulation of capital to purchase means of production and labor-power,
>respectively. The initial givens in Marx's theory are NOT the physical
>quantities of inputs, as in Sraffa's theory.

Granting the latter statement, which is *descriptively* accurate, doesn't 
imply any *necessary* *analytical* difference between the two approaches, 
does it?  That is, the monetary magnitude Marx defines as "constant 
capital" is necessarily determined by the sum of constant capital 
commodities used up in production multiplied by their respective purchase 
prices, isn't it?  Doesn't Marx use exactly this formulation in calculating 
constant capital in the two examples he considers in K.I Chapter 9 (pp. 
327-329, Penguin)? Similarly, the monetary magnitude Marx defines as 
"variable capital" corresponds to the wage rate paid times the units of 
labor power employed in production, doesn't it?  Doesn't Marx invoke 
exactly this sense in describing variable capital as "the sum total of 
wages" at the beginning of K.I Chapter 25 (p. 762)?  Does Marx ever *deny* 
that constant capital and variable capital are respectively determined in 
this manner?  If not, couldn't the fact that Marx does not *in every 
instance* resolve magnitudes of constant and variable capital into vector 
products of input prices and input requirements reflect a wish to keep the 
argument simple, rather than the desire to make any particular 
*theoretical* commitment, especially since he assumes, beginning in K. I 
Chapter 6, that commodity prices are always proportional to their 
respective labor values?


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