[OPE-L:7907] Re: Re: Volume 1 about the total surplus-value

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Mon Nov 04 2002 - 22:57:50 EST

```On Mon, 4 Nov 2002, Andrew Brown wrote:

> Re 7891:
>
> Hi Fred,
>
> Many thanks for your reply and for the attachments. The 'hostile
> brothers' ch. is the one I have been studying, whilst also dipping in
> to the other ch. and also your 1993 ch. on the transformation
> problem.
>
> > What I mean by "theoretical determination" is that the total quantity
> > of surplus-value is determined in Volume 1 by the following equation:
> >
> >  S  =  n [ m (LT - LN ) ]  =  n [ m ( LS ) ]
> >
> > where LT is the total working time for the average worker, LN is the
> > necessary labor-time for the average worker, m is the money value
> > added per hour, and n is the number of workers employed in the
> > capitalist economy as a whole.
>
> > The "cause" of surplus-value is surplus labor, in the sense of the
> > above equation, i.e. surplus-value is proportional to surplus labor.
> > Every hour that the average workers works over and above necessary
> > labor produces m amount of surplus-value for capitalists.
> >
>
> Could I ask for some points of clarification? You argue, of course,
> that m and LS (hence S) are 'taken as given' in volume 3. Is it the
> magnitude of their *product* (mLS) that is taken as given, or is the
> magnitude of the individual variables, i.e. m on the one hand and
> LS on the other, 'taken as given' (and their product then derived
> from these given magnitudes)? Indeed I could ask the same sort of
> question regarding LS and the sum of LT and -LN.

The individual variables of m and LT are taken as given, along with
constant capital and variable capital (as I have explained in my
papers).  LN is derived from the given variable capital and the given m
by: LN = V / m (i.e. LN is the number of hours required for the average
worker to produce money new-value equivalent to the average money variable
capital advanced to purchase his/her labor-power).  Surplus-value is then
determined by the product of m and (LT - LN), or m LS.  The product S is
not taken as given, but rather determined by this theory.

> The next question is not only a point of clarification, rather it also
> may reveal where I am finding it difficult to grasp your view:
>
> What is the causal process or mechanism, i.e. the social process,
> whereby S is made proportional to n [ m (LS) ] (such that the latter
> 'determines' the former)? Is this process established in Vol 1?
>
> (On my own reading, which I can now see is different to your
> interpretation, the answer to the last question is that this process
> has *not* been established. That is, I cannot see any social
> mechanism or structure in Vol 1 whereby proportionality between S
> and its own substance, viz nLS, is established).

I am not sure what you mean here by the "causal process or mechanism" or
"social process" that "establishes" the proportionality between
surplus-value and surplus labor.  Could you please clarify and perhaps
give an example of what you mean by such a "causal process or
mechanism" that could "establish" the proportionality between
surplus-value and surplus labor.  Or are you suggesting that this is
impossible?

The basic assumption of Marx's theory is that each hour of average social
labor produces m amount of money new-value (e.g. 0.5 shillings per hour in
many of Marx's examples).  This is where the proportionality comes in -
Marx's basic assumption.

If the average working day is greater than the average necessary necessary
labor, then each hour of surplus labor produces m amount of surplus-value
for capitalists (e.g. 6 hours of surplus labor produces 3 shillings of
surplus-value in Marx's illustration of his basic theory of surplus-value
in Chapter 7 of Volume 1).

The total surplus-value is then equal to the number of workers employed
times the surplus-value produced by the average worker.

The causal mechanism here is that each hour of surplus labor produces m
amount of money surplus-value, or each hour of surplus labor "causes" or
"determines" m amount of surplus-value.  Therefore, surplus-value is
proportional to surplus labor, with m the factor of proportionality.

This total surplus-value that is determined in Volume 1 is then taken as
given in Volume 3, and the magnitude of this total surplus-value does not
change as a result of the distribution of surplus-value in Volume 3, as
Marx stated many times.

Andy, how is your interpretation compatible with Marx's many statements on
this key aspect of his logical method - that the total surplus-value is
taken as given in Volume 3 and does not change as a result of the
distribution of surplus-value in Volume 3?

Andy, I am also not sure exactly what you are arguing about what MARX did
in regard to these questions.

Please clarify, which of the following are you arguing (or something
else?):

1.  Marx did NOT assume proportionality between surplus-value and surplus
labor in Volume 1.

2.  Marx did assume proportionality between surplus-value and surplus
labor, but -

-  two variations:

a.  Marx did not explain the causal process or mechanism that establishes
this proportionality in Volume 1, but he did explain this causal process
or mechanism after Volume 1.  (If so, then where?)

b.  Marx did not explain the causal process or mechanism that establishes
this proportionality at all, ever, in any volume of Capital.

Andy, thanks very much for your clarifications.