[OPE-L:7749] Re: Fw: the theory of surplus value and magnitude (with a btw on VFT)

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Fri Oct 04 2002 - 22:37:21 EDT

> > Re Fred's [7728]:
> >
> > > This demonstration of the reality of
> > > exploitation behind the surface appearance of an equal exchange involves
> > > the quantitative relation between the money value- added produced by
> > > workers and the money wages they are paid,
> >
> > Involves, yes.
> >
> > > and therefore requires a
> > > quantitative theory of value and surplus-value.
> >
> > At the risk of being accused of being picky,  I would say rather that his
> > theories of value and surplus value (necessarily) contain an analysis of
> > both quality and quantity.  In other words, it is not that Marx had a
> > qualitative theory of value and surplus value and a quantitative theory
> > of  value and surplus value.  Rather, the analysis of qualitative
> relations
> > is integrated with a quantitative analysis within a *unified theory*.

I agree with this.

> > I agree with your comments on "equality"  (not shown above). I would
> > add the following:  through the assumption of equal exchange, Marx
> > was able to show that surplus-value does not arise because of
> > "cheating" on the part of  some "bad" capitalists.  In other words he
> > rejected and implicitly critiqued in _Capital_ the liberal perspective
> > that greed on the part of individual capitalists is the cause of
> > exploitation.   This was important to Marx for political reasons since
> > if exploitation is due to cheating by some capitalists then it can at
> least
> > be potentially reformed away. In contrast, the theory of surplus value
> > which ultimately holds that _all_  s and profit is based on class
> > exploitation has clear revolutionary implications.

I agree with this too..

> > > How could there be a
> > > "qualitative" theory of class exploitation in capitalism without a
> > > quantitative theory of class exploitation?  I don't see why one of these
> > > is primary and the other secondary.  They seem to me to be the same
> > > question.
> >
> > I am pleased to read that you now recognize that the "quantitative theory"
> > is NOT THE PRIMARY QUESTION.  Unlike [7723] -- where you asserted
> > that the "primary question"  is the question of surplus value which "is a
> > quantitative question"  and that "all that matters about surplus value is
> > its quantity or magnitude" -- you now reject a perspective that holds
> either
> > the "quantitative theory" or  "qualitative theory" to be primary.   I am
> > pleased that you have revised your prior statements.  We are accordingly
> > less far apart in terms of our interpretation of the theory of surplus
> value
> > than  it appeared after [7723].

I agree again.  Maybe I overstated my case before.   And maybe you did too
when you said that the quantitative question was a "secondary question".

> > btw -- reading between the lines -- I am now pleased to read that
> > you MUST reject the oft-stated perspective that VALUE-FORM
> > OF SURPLUS VALUE.  This MUST be the case since clearly VFT,
> > in all shades and colors,  incorporates an analysis of the MONEY-FORM,
> > and hence MAGNITUDE, in its analysis of surplus-value. Hence
> > the charge that for VFT surplus value is a "metaphor" must necessarily
> > be rejected.

Jerry, I don't really want to get into this right now, but a quick
response: The fact that VFT incorporates analysis of the money-form, and
hence magnitudes, does not necessarily mean that it has a quantitative
theory of surplus-value.

Marx's quantitative theory of surplus-value is expressed by the
equation: S = m Ls.  According to Marx's theory, the magnitude of Ls is
assumed to be determined independently of S, and in turn to determine S.

I don't think the VFT in general (there may be individual
exceptions) accepts Marx's quantitative theory of surplus-value, because
it does not accept the Ls is determined independently of S, as the
"substance" of S.  And I don't know of any other VFT that determines the
magnitude of S.  That's why I have said (and continue to say) that VFT in
general has no quantitative theory that determines the magnitude of
surplus-value.  Please correct me if I am wrong.


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