[OPE-L:7922] Re: Re: relation of value to organic composition of capital

From: Simon Mohun (s.mohun@qmul.ac.uk)
Date: Wed Nov 06 2002 - 07:34:06 EST

Jerry asked what others think. I think Andy is quite right here (and it's 
independent of the rest of his take on value theory). The issue is merely 
to distinguish between an index at constant prices and an index at current 

So the empirical analogues are as follows:

1. TCC is real (productive) capital (ie some index of the relevant stock of 
means of production at constant prices) per hour of (productive) labour.

2. OCC is real (productive) capital (ie some index of the relevant stock of 
means of production at constant prices) per dollar of (productive) wages, 
where the denominator is also at constant prices.

Hence the OCC mirrors the TCC, and price movements are irrelevant. Hence 
for Fine-Weeks etc TCC and OCC are categories of production.

3. VCC is OCC at current, not constant, prices.

The price movements generated by the activity involving TCC and OCC will 
affect the VCC. Taking account of this is a lower level of abstraction.

But the definitions are independent of the 'levels of abstraction' approach.


At 12:11 06/11/02 +0000, you wrote:
>Hi Jerry,
>There are essentially 3 things going on here: (1) an exposition of
>my take on the CCs; (2) an exposition of your own take on these;
>(3) a comparaitive evaluation of our different perspectives.
>I fear they are getting a bit too muddled in our exchange thus far!
>Let me reiterate that the interpretation of the CCs is essential for
>the interpretation of the essential aspects of Marx's 'Capital' that
>runs through the work of Ben F., John Weeks and those who build
>upon the work of these two authors. Nor is it difficult to 'get' this
>interpretation. You can simply read Alfredo's very short (10 page)
>ch.6 of his latest book. I will try to help with the comments below.
> > Re Andy's [7915]:
> > I would say, rather, that Marx asserts that  *both* TCC  and  VCC must
> > change for the OCC to change.  Thus the OCC can only increase if: a)
> > the TCC increases, and b) the VCC increases.
> >
>Regarding your interpretation, I am still unclear as to how you
>*distinguish* between the VCC and the OCC. But your next
>comment is helpful in this regard:
> > Well, the TCC by definition isn't a measure of value.  The "relevant
> > implication" is that when there has been a change in the VCC ***to the
> > extent that the VCC 'mirrors' changes in the TCC*** then the OCC will
> > change.  The interesting question then becomes: what happens if there
> > is a change in the VCC which is *not* 'mirrored' by and 'determined'
> > by a change in the TCC? In that circumstance, there could be a change
> > in the VCC but not a change in the OCC, couldn't there be?
>Yes. But why not, then, also allow that the TCC and OCC can
>change, whilst the VCC does not change? For example, the TCC
>could increase in magnitude, but the increase could be exactly
>offset by changes in the unit value of the components of the TCC,
>such that the VCC remains the same (e.g. the unit value of the
>means of production could decline to just offset the relative
>increase in the physical quantity of means of production). At any
>rate, on the my view this means that the TCC and OCC can go up,
>with the VCC staying the same. Indeed, the OCC *always* and
>*only* changes with the TCC on this view. The OCC is an index of
>the TCC.  The question of abstraction comes in here also. The
>OCC *abstracts* from all changes in the VCC that do not reflect
>changes in the TCC (on the view I am suggesting). The OCC, on
>this view, is an index of the TCC, an index that is necessary
>because the TCC itself comprises a ratio between a heterogenous
>set of things.
> >
> > > <snip, JL> In other words, the
> > > OCC is a category of production and abstracts away from changes in
> > > values due to the exchange process (e.g. distribution of SV
> > > according to profit rate equalistion), only taking into account
> > > changes in the TCC. The VCC is a category of exchange and so does
> > > not abstract from changes in value due to exchange.
> >
> > I disagree.  The OCC is no more a category of production alone
> > than is the VCC.
>OK. So we have a point of disagreement, or a difference of
>interpretation of the CCs. Perhaps I can elaborate upon why, on my
>view, the OCC is a category of production: firstly, the TCC is
>clearly a category of production; secondly, the OCC is, on my
>view, an index of the TCC, such that only if the TCC changes will
>the OCC will change; thirdly, this means that the OCC is a
>category of production.
> >
> > > The OCC will only change if the TCC changes.
> >
> > Yes, and the OCC will only change if the VCC also changes.
>This is a statement of your interpretation but not of my
>interpretation. On my interpretation the OCC is an index of the
>TCC, hence changes in the VCC due to causes other than
>changes in the TCC will *not* change the OCC.
> >
> > > Hence the  VCC is more concrete than the OCC.
> >
> > I still don't 'get' it.   Why the 'hence'?  Because the VCC
> > supposedly, by your reading, is a 'category of exchange' which
> > somehow makes it more concrete?
>Perhaps my view is a bit clearer now? The OCC is an index of the
>TCC. Only if the TCC changes will the OCC change. This means
>that the OCC *abstracts* from any changes in the unit value of the
>components of the TCC. The VCC does *not* abstract from such
>For example, consider any particular production process you
>fancy. Say, for sake of example, that the TCC does not change
>over a given period (that is the same physical quantity of means of
>production is required to absorb one unit of labour). However, say
>that the *value* of the means of production *does* change during
>this period. What happens to the OCC and VCC? On my view, the
>OCC does *not* change. Why? Because it *abstracts* from the
>change in the *value* of the components of the TCC (in this case it
>abstracts from the change in value of the means of production). The
>VCC *does* change because it does *not* so abstract.
>Sounds like a curious distinction? Maybe! But it allows Marx to
>distinguish between production and exchange. In turn it leads to
>extremely important conclusions regarding the transformation
>problem, the TRPF and hence the theory of capitalistic crisis.
>Moreover the distinction seems even more natural in the dynamic
>context of the TRPF. In this context the *both* the VCC *and* the
>OCC can be measured. But I'll not bore you with the details of that.
>Many thanks,
> >
> > What do others on the list think?
> >
> > In solidarity, Jerry
> >
> >

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