[OPE-L:7775] Re: Re: Re: "Hic Rhodus, hic salta!"

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Tue Oct 08 2002 - 13:42:48 EDT

Hi Fred,

	first, let me thank you for your answer.

	your mail would deserve a much longer and detailed reply. 
but, now, let me give a quick one.

	whatever the merits of your interpretation and position, I 
hope you realised the theme of my comments. you seemed to me to want 
to present a kind of 'smoking gun' supporting your interpretation.

	I simply countered that you misrepresented the position of 
some (or most) of the people who think that 'values' are relevant in 
the story told in volume I. why you misrepresented them? because you 
charged them with a preoccupation with what 'ought to be'. no, that's 
wrong: I argued that they, as you, are interested in 'what is' and 
read Marx as interested in what is, and surplus value (whatever the 
different interpretation of the notion are) has to to with what is.

	and this has nothing to do with two-stage theory if it is 
meant as two-approximation (e.g., there are a lot of people, 
including myself, who valued 'values' but didn't had  any 
two-approximation approach: I am against it, well, since my first 
course in Marxism, 1972). if you mean two-stage as, first 'values', 
then 'prices of production', then I guess you have to criticize first 
of all the Master.

	in any case, the first stage is not hypothetical at all. it 
is ACTUAL surplus labour (provided all the 'value' produced is 
realized: but certainly YOU should have nothing against it), as 
ACTUAL social working day less ACTUAL necessary labour. is this not 
'what it is'?

	now, in your answer to me, you restate your position, but I 
do not see where you dismantle my point. at the minimum, Marx may be 
read in this two different ways. at the minimum. so, my answer stays 
where it is (see ps).

	of course, you try to argue as if YOUR Marx is Marx: it may 
be, but I do not find very interesting the position of those (either 
TSS or your kind or my kind or any kind of scholar) who in the XXIth 
century seem to think that a text has only one reading. of course, I 
am interested in looking at your quotes: but they have not convinced 
me that we have found a Marx without any contradiction (the same I 
could say, say, for me, or any other).

	and I still wait your answer to show me that it is clear that 
Marx didn't had the real wage as given in vol I. which to me is a 
good falsification of your reading. as long as this is a POSSIBLE 
reading of Marx, vol I, well, the debate still goes on.


ps: hic Rhodus, hic salta!

At 17:26 -0400 5-10-2002, Fred B. Moseley wrote:
>Riccardo, thanks for your comments.  My replies below.
>On Sat, 5 Oct 2002, Riccardo Bellofiore wrote:
>>  At 22:36 -0400 4-10-2002, Fred B. Moseley wrote:
>>  >
>>  >I always thought that this quote meant something like "put up or shut
>>  >up".  But I reread the translator's (Fowkes) footnote tonight, and he
>>  >says that this quote is a reference to Hegel, and specifically to the
>>  >Preface to Hegel's Philosophy of Right.  According to Fowkes, Hegel
>>  >"uses the quote to illustrate his view that the task of philosophy is to
>  > >apprehend and comprehend WHAT IS, rather that what ought to be."
>  > >(emphasis added)
>  >
>  >
>  > of course, "a hypothetical total
>  > surplus-value proportional to the labor-time embodied in surplus
>>  goods" has nothing to do with "what ought to be". this
>>  characterization would apply to a Ricardian socialist, not to a
>>  Marxian (or to most of Marxians).
>>  in the specific instance, the idea you criticize is (or may be seen)
>>  as essential to understand what is. this is true: both if we accept
>  > or if we deny that this notion is actually the Marxian one, relevant
>  > to read Capital vol I.
>1.  I am glad that you agree that the aim of Marx's theory of
>surplus-value is to explain the actual total surplus-value ("what is").
>2.  However, you seem to suggest that is possible to have a
>"two-stage" theory of the actual total surplus-value (the term is mine,
>not Riccardo's but I think it accurately reflects the theory that Riccardo
>is suggesting; please correct me if I am wrong):
>Stage 1: determination of a hypothetical total surplus-value (dM*)
>Stage 2: the transformation of this hypothetical total surplus-value into
>the actual total surplus-value (dM). 
>You suggest that this "two-stage" theory is possible, whether or not it is
>Marx's theory in Capital. 
>3.  In the current discussion, I am interested only in what is Marx's
>theory in Capital. 
>4.  And I see no textual evidence at all, in any of Marx's manuscripts,
>that he himself followed such a "two-stage" method.  Quite to the
>contrary, there are many, many passages, throughout the various drafts of
>Capital (as I have documented in several papers) which suggest that Marx
>himself understood his own logical method of the determination of the
>actual total surplus-value to be a "one-stage" method.  The actual total
>surplus-value is determined in one step, in Volume 1. 
>The second step in Marx's theory is NOT to transform a hypothetical
>surplus-value into the actual total surplus-value.  Rather, Marx's second
>step presupposes a GIVEN, predetermined total surplus-value (Marx said
>many times) and explains the division of this given total surplus-value
>into individual parts.  The second step is DIVISION of the total
>surplus-value, not ALTERATION of the total surplus-value.  There is NO
>TRANSFORMATION of a hypothetical total surplus-value (dM*) to the actual
>total surplus-value (dM) in Capital. 
>5.  Therefore, I think we have to conclude, don't we, that Marx himself
>understood his theory to determine the actual total surplus-value in one
>step, i.e. in Volume 1?  Whether or not a "two-stage" theory of the actual
>total surplus-value is possible, and why one would want to explain the
>actual total surplus-value in two stages rather than one, are separate
>questions.  But I think it is clear that Marx's own theory of the actual
>total surplus-value is a "one-stage" theory.
>>  so, Fred, I think you are creating a straw man (or woman).
>>  riccardo
>I don't thing I am creating a straw man.  Rather, I think I am trying to
>clarify the logical method that Marx himself used to construct his
>economic theory.  And, as I said, I think it is quite clear that Marx's
>own theory of the actual total surplus-value is a "one-stage" theory.


Riccardo Bellofiore
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
Via dei Caniana 2
I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
e-mail:   bellofio@unibg.it, bellofio@cisi.unito.it
direct	  +39-035-2052545
secretary +39-035 2052501
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homepage: http://www.unibg.it/dse/homebellofiore.htm

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