[OPE-L:7949] Re: Re: relation of value to organic composition of capital

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Thu Nov 07 2002 - 07:11:27 EST

Re [7947]

> Yes but if the technical composition is a vector what does
> it mean to say the mass is increasing. What if one component goes up
> and another goes down, has the 'mass' increased or decreased?

I mentioned 'mass' because this is the term Marx uses. I also said 
it is 'at best crude' and I said this because of the very issues you 
raise in this post. If you like, it is at *worst* useless!  For what it is 
worth, then clearly measuring the mass of every element of the 
vector and then summing would give give the total mass of the 
vector (of the means of production), this is obviously a scalar. The 
mass increases if the sum increases, and vice versa.

> How can you compare the 'mass' of jet airliners against that
> of steam trains, if you are comparing the technical composition of
> capital now with that in the 1920s.

Again, one can find out what they weigh and compare them. Is this 
of any use? No, clearly not. Still less if one considers measuring 
the mass of sophisticated electronics against jets against steam 
trains. In Marx's time it may have made some sense (even if still 
crude), since he had in mind large scale machinery and 
improvement in machinery may have tended to means an increase 
in mass of the machinery (as well as a decrease in labour time)

These considerations led me to modify my definition of the OCC (in 
line with Alfredo's) as stated below.

Many thanks,


> > Previously, I termed the OCC 
> > an 'index' of the TCC. However, in light of your point, I would want
> > to modify this to call the OCC a 'value-assessment', or
> > 'value-reflex' of the TCC (Alfredo uses these latter terms). This
> > indicates that the OCC does more than merely reflect a pre-given and
> > well-defined quantity. 
> > 

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