[OPE-L:8317] Re: Re: Milios et al, "Karl Marx and the Classics"

From: jmilios@hol.gr
Date: Sun Jan 12 2003 - 14:43:01 EST

Jerry, you write [OPE-L:8306]:

‘Sticking with the measurement of surplus value, how does one measure an 
increase in the intensity of labor?  (…)  That is, how we can separate out 
increases in surplus value due to increased labor intensity (speed-up) vs. 
increased technological change?’

I think that there are indices, like the labour share in the net product (L/Y), 
or respectively the profit share (1-L)/Y, which reveal the trend of increase in 
the absolute surplus value. However, to my view, we cannot measure this 
increase per se, as we cannot measure surplus value per se. (We can measure 
only profit, the form of appearance of surplus value). This means that we have 
to study the effect of the increase in the intensity of labor “with all other 
factors invariable”. In case that we have a simultaneous increase in labour 
productivity (due to technological change) and in the intensity of labour there 
is of course an indefinability as to which portion in the increase of the 
profit share came from which factor. We do know though, that this change is the 
outcome of two causes acting simultaneously, an increase in both the absolute 
and the relative surplus value. In this case, we may undertake a comparative 
study with cases where each factor (increase in labour intensity or labour 
productivity due to technical change) was acting separately.

Rakesh, you write [OPE-L:8311]:

‘Everything changes as to the dynamcs of the system when the surplus is 
fundamentally appropriated in the value form, i.e., as alienated labor 
objectified in commodities which have to be sold for money, as opposed to taken 
as direct labor services, rent in kind, money rent or taxes.  In order to 
specify capital's laws of motion, Marx took over Richard Jones' comparative 
historical framework of the forms of rent and specified capitalism in relation 
to them, e.g. cottier, metayer rents.  To me Marx's emphasis on the form of the 
surplus stems first and foremost not from philosophers such as Aristotle or 
Hegel but from the historical and evolutionary materialist Jones whose 
influence on Marx has generated no where the interest as Hegel's or Aristotle's’

Yes, I find your point very interesting!

And you add:

‘I think the value form school is much too philosophical; following Fred, 
Alfredo, and others, I also do not accept the breaking by some value form 
theorists of the quantitative linkage  between unpaid labor time and surplus 
value as it appears phenomenally as profit, interest and rent’.

I think that the linkage is notional and not quantitative, meaning that:
a) it allows us to theoretically decipher profit as a historically specific 
form of exploitation (surplus labour appropriation) and to comprehend the laws 
of motion of capitalism,
b) it reveals the ‘cause’ underlying the trends of change of empirically 
measurable magnitudes (eg. the labour share, see my comments on Jerry’s 

Besides, I believe that surplus value APPEARS (materially expresses itself) as 
profit, it does not ‘appear PHENOMENALLY’.

It is in this sense that I fully agree with your final statement:

‘Marx's value theory is both qualitative (it specifies the historical specifity 
of capitalism and lays out the necessity of money) and quantitative (it 
provides a theory of the movement of economic magnitudes)’.

Profit is exactly such an economic magnitude.

With this opportunity I would like to make a first comment on Paul’s mail [OPE-
L:8296]. (I will be away from home [and from most of my books] until January 
20, so this information is only what I could find in my laptop. I will return 
to the subject after a week or so).

Paul, you wrote:  

‘What I was doing was challenging you to sustain your position by examining how 
Marx REVISED Volume 1 between 1867 and 1875.  I don't know the answer to my own 
question regarding value -- I was hoping you'd have explored that evidence 
(it's not 
in your book) as well as the Notes on Wagner which have a lot on value’.

I do not think that the changes between the first and the second Editions of 
Volume 1 are significant regarding the discussed subject.

The differences between the 1867 (first) and 1872-73 (second) Editions of 
Volume 1 are the following:

a) A change in style: Marx labeled in Edition one the well-known Parts of Vol. 
1 as “Chapters”, and denoted them with Latin numbers (Seven Chapters[-Parts] in 
the German edition). The well-known Chapters of Vol. 1 where labeled as sub-
chapters (eg. I.1, I.2, etc.).

b) A change in content is to be found only in (I), i.e. in the first Chapter of 
Vol. 1 (which is our known Part I of the second and the following editions of 
Vol. 1). This change in content is due to the fact that Edition 1 contained 
an ‘Appendix to Chapter I.1. The Value-form’, [pp. 764-784 of Vol. 1 of the 
German first Edition, 1867]. In the second Edition of Vol. 1 Marx incorporated 
this Appendix in the text of Vol. 1 (Part 1).
Both texts, i.e. the Appendix and the text of Chapter I (corresponding to the 
text of Part I of the following editions) have been translated into English:
1) Two translations of the ‘Appendix’:
-Value: Studies by Karl Marx, translated and edited by Albert Dragstedt,
London, New Park, 1976.
- Karl Marx, The Value-Form, Introduction and Translation by M. Roth and W. 
Suchting, Capital and Class, Spring 1978, pp. 130-150.
2) One translation of Chapter I (1867):
- Chapter One of Capital, first edition version, translated by Alex Davidson, 
Bulletin Marxist Classics Series, No. 1, New York, Labor Publications.

Marx wrote the Appendix at the beginning of July 1867, after he had finished 
Vol. 1 (March 1867), and while he was correcting the galley-proofs of Vol. 1.

In the Afterward of the second German Edition of Vol. 1, after informing the 
readers about the changes between the two Editions and added:

‘Let me remark, in passing, that that double exposition had been occasioned by 
my friend, Dr. L Kugelmann in Hanover. I was visiting him in the spring of 1867 
when the first proof-sheets arrived from Hamburg, and he convinced me that most 
readers needed a supplementary, more didactic explanation of the form of value’.

In reality, Engels had also played an important role in Marx’s decision to 
write the ‘Appendix’.

On June 16, 1867 Engels had read the first 5 proof sheets of Vol.1 and wrote to 
Marx (Marx-Engels-Werke [MEW], Vol. 31, pp. 303 ff.) that his [Marx’s] 
exposition should be more ‘historic’ and also more ‘didactic’, like 
the ‘Hegelian Encyclopedia’. Marx responded to this letter on June 22, 1867, 
(MEW, Vol. 31, p. 306), writing to Engels that ‘I followed and not followed 
your advise to be more dialectic’: ‘1st, I wrote an Appendix, in which I 
present the same thing so simply as it is possible and so didactically as it is 
possible and 2nd, I separated, according to your advice, each part that brings 
forward some progress in the development of argument in paragraphs, etc.’.

In my co-authored book, we have translated and cited several passages from 
Chapter I (1867 Edition), which were later on omitted or differently expressed 
by Marx in the second edition of Vol. 1, but which we regarded to be very 
elucidative for his argument. Here is one example that I like:

‘Within the value relation and the expression of value immanent in it, the 
abstractedly general [i.e. value, J.M.] does not constitute a property of the 
concrete, sensorily actual [i.e. of exchange value, J.M.] but on the contrary 
the sensorily actual is a simple form of appearance or specific form of 
realisation of the abstractedly general (…) Only the sensorily concrete is 
valid as a form of appearance of the abstractedly general’ (MEGA II, 5: 634).

Ending this long mail I would like to make clear to you Paul, as well as to 
everybody else, that it was not my intention to call you an individualist, but 
only to stress the point that individualism ‘quantifies’ social relations.  

In solidarity,

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