[OPE-L:7821] Re: Re: "Hic Rhodus, hic salta!"

From: Christopher Arthur (cjarthur@waitrose.com)
Date: Tue Oct 15 2002 - 11:17:20 EDT

I realise my 7818 was not a proper reply to this so I reply below.
>On Thu, 10 Oct 2002, Christopher Arthur wrote:
>> I agree with Riccardo that the unfinished state of V III means we are at
>> liberty to interpret (in particular Marx never completed the thought he
>> began when he said in real periods of production the input would be
>> production price). We are  also at liberty to improve. One problem here is
>> the word "production"; Fred's interpretation is most strongly supported in
>> Marx by his continual reference to what is produced cannot be increased or
>> diminished by its distribution. However value is not produced. What is
>> produced are commodities. Value is the social measure of these commodities.
>> Now if these commodities are mediating different social relations it makes
>> sense to suppose there might be different ways to measure. I think it is
>> not a question of two stages but of two perspectives. There is the class
>> against class perspective where the real wage and the real surplus product
>> are key givens, and a V1 measure of total SV is obtained. And there is the
>> 'hostile brothers' perspective in which these givens are reevaluated for
>> their purposes. The 'substance' is invariant but the social determination
>> of its  measure varies. The 'transformation' is the site of an objective
>> "contradiction in actuality" rather than a technical move in determining
>> prices and profits.
>Chris, even though Volume 3 is unfinished, one point that remains
>consistent throughout the various drafts of Capital is that the total
>surplus-value is determined prior to its division into individual
>parts.  I do not think we are at liberty to interpret this point any way
>we like.  We may of course want to change or improve Marx, but I think it
>has to be acknowledged that the prior determination of the total
>surplus-value was Marx's own logical method.
Sure - he says that many times
But you have to rememeber also this was before he thought through the next
level of concreteion where inputs are in production prices.

>I am glad that you agree that Volume 1 is about the class relation between
>capitalists and workers.  Therefore, it is about the total surplus-value
>produced by the working class as a whole, right?
No. It is more general than that. The issue of totals has not yet come up.

>Why do you think it is better to conceive of the class relation between
>capitalists and workers in real terms and the individual relations among
>capitalists in money terms?  Capitalists actually pay workers a money
>wage, not a real wage.  Workers produce for capitalists a money
>surplus-value, or dM.  Isn't the goal of capitalist production dM, in
>money terms?
That is the goal of the capitalists but it is not the goal of the workers.
The workers are operating CMC; for them M is not an issue, only what can be
bought with it; so I think it is reasonable to say that the class against
class issue is specified in the real relation between wage goods and
surplus product which results from the struggle over the pumping out of
surplus labour.

>What exactly is the "substance" that you say is invariant between Volume 1
>and Volume 3.
This is indeed the tricky one which I am not yet clear on. It would inhere
in the surplus product but would have to be different from that physical
aggregate in that it would be a) social b) homogenous. MY idea was that it
would be capable of bearing contradictory social meanings and hence

>You have agreed in the past that the total surplus-value, in money terms,
>is taken as given in Volume 3 and is not affected by the distribution of
>surplus-value.  How do you think this total surplus-value that is taken as
>given in Volume 3 is determined, if not by Marx's theory of surplus-value
>in Volume 1?
Yes OK, at the intial level of abstraction of V3 the total available that
underlies the competitive struggle of capitals is determined by the
categories of V1 and in money terms would represent the difference between
money new value and variable capital on condition that - as in V1 - there
is no problem about the real wage and the money wage.
BUt, as we know, iterating periods of production introduces problems about



17 Bristol Road, Brighton, BN2 1AP, England

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Oct 17 2002 - 00:00:01 EDT