[OPE-L:7788] Re: Re: Re: "Hic Rhodus, hic salta!"

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Thu Oct 10 2002 - 05:41:47 EDT

At 13:30 -0400 9-10-2002, Fred B. Moseley wrote:

>If there is no difficulty in the sale of commodities, then the actual
>total surplus-value determined after sale is equal to the total
>surplus-value determined in production, right?  In other words, in this
>case, the total surplus-value determined in production is the actual total
>surplus-value, and not a hypothetical total surplus-value proportional to
>the labor-time embodied in surplus goods, as in Riccardo's interpretation.

no, I have no hypothetical surplus value. here you have to 
distinguish interpretation and reconstruction

interpretation: Marx in vol I reasoned in 'values', and he had reason 
for doing that. the reasoning in 'values' served the purpose of 
defining what for him were three actual magnitudes: social working 
day (represented and embodied in the output), necessary labour 
(represented and embodied in the 'given' real subsistence wage), and 
total surplus value (surplus labour and surplus value after 
production, assumed to be sold on the market).

this is vol I. then we have vol II and vol III. Marx never published 
it. if he thought they were already completed he would have published 
them. so, it's up to us to make up our mind on that. here, more than 
one interpretation are allowed.

I agree with you that Marx likely wanted the first and third 
magnitudes as given thrroughout. I disagree with you that there is no 
evidence that Marx didn't explicitely say in vol I that the real wage 
is assumed to be given at the beginning of the period (is this true 
in fact? no. exactly as it is not necessarily true that all that is 
produced is sold).

we disagree also on the fact that when we go to vol III prices, we 
open an alternative which was NOT resolved by Marx: how to reread 
Marx when represented and embodied magnitudes divorce (even with the 
output completely sold)?

I have my suggestions here.

what I want to be clear about are three things, that I would like to 
be heard (you know, I have some reason to think I know what 
Bellofiore would like to say):

(i) I have no two approximation approach: as Marx

(ii) my reasoning in 'values' defines actual magnitudes: as Marx

(iii) in my positive development (partly departing from Marx) what I 
get are EXACTLY the conclusions of Marx: social working day fixed in 
vol I, necessary labour fixed in vol I, total surplus value fixed in 
vol I remain GIVEN throughout the reasoning (look at almost all my 

what you dislike in (iii) is that of course in my reasoning with vol 
III we have a kind of 'duplication' of the value of labour power and 
of surplus value: the labour embodied in them is different than the 
labour represented in money wages and gross money profits. on this - 
in my reading - Marx was unclear: of course, the story of 150 years 
of Marxism is not useless, like if we had Marx, a void, then us 
rescuing the only truth. I may add that this duplication, linked to 
the theme of fetishism etc. is most Marxian.

I am not saying you have to agree with any of this. but I simply, and 
strongly say: my surplus value in vol I, in 'values', has nothing 
which is not actual. on the contrary: to be provocative, I would say 
that is more actual than yours 8-)

as you know, ex post, after vol III so to speak, our two readings 
coincide (I showed you this in Omaha and Bergamo). is this a big 
problem? not to me. vol I to vol III is a kind of big 'mediation' to 
get our picture ....

>I argue that Marx assumed throughout Volume 1 (and indeed generally
>throughout the three volumes) that there is no difficulty in the sale of
>commodities, so that the actual total surplus-value determined after sale
>is equal to the total surplus-value determined in production.

this is true. but I side with Jerry in seeing a problem in this. 
indeed, to me Marx's two most important points are: uncertainty in 
extracting labour and surplus labour; uncertainty in the 
'actualisation' of the value and surplus value of commodities. so 
this assumption has to be grounded. I'm sure my way of grounding you 
don't like (reconstruction), being framed in Keynesian/postKeynesian 

>  In your
>list of references in (7755), none are from Volume 1.

the problem of the POSSIBILITY of difficulties of sale etc. is 
clearly in vol I, as it was in the Theories of Surplus Value.

>And in the
>references from the other two volumes, I only found two passages that
>mention the possibility of difficulties in the sale of commodities, and
>these two were very brief passing comments (C.II. 124 and
>C.III. 352).  The other passages mention the different phases of the
>production of surplus-value in production and the realization of
>surplus-value in circulation, but they do not mention difficulties in this
>realization.  If there are no difficulties of realization, then the total
>surplus-value realized is equal to the total surplus-value determined in



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
fax:	  +39 035 2052549
homepage: http://www.unibg.it/dse/homebellofiore.htm

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