Re: [OPE-L] Marx's Form of Analysis

From: Philip Dunn (pscumnud@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Date: Wed Feb 16 2005 - 19:06:40 EST

Hi Jerry

No doubt. But how much of this is relevant to the theory of value?  The
scattergun approach is not very illuminating.

Quoting Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM:

> >  There is however another potentiality/actuality
> > dimension, that between labour-power and labour.  Here the actuality is an
> > actuality of activity, labour being the activity or expenditure of
> > labour-power.
> Phil:
> The dichotomy between potential and actual exists during
> all moments of the production and circulation processes
> under capitalism.
> Consider -- for the sake of simplification -- what happens
> before, during, and after a 'period'.
> Before time period t,  labour _and_ labour-power
> exist only as potential.  Prior to the wage contract,
> it can not be known what amount of potential wage-
> labourers will actually get jobs working for capital.
> There is also obviously a gap between potential wages
> and benefits and actual wages and benefits!
> After the wage contract has been agreed to, there is still
> only potential unless and until work is extracted by capital
> from wage-workers in the process of production during
> time period t.  Even where and when work is actually
> extracted, capital does not know whether the actual
> extraction of work from workers will equal the potential
> (or even average or customary) work extracted, e.g. the actual
> intensity of labour may be and often is quite different from
> the potential intensity of labour.
> During time period t,  also, the potential access to means
> of production may be different from the actual access,
> e.g. there may be an unanticipated shortage of raw materials
> required for production.  The potential constant fixed
> capital may be also different from the actual constant
> fixed capital, e.g. due to price changes in machinery or
> restrictions on the diffusion and mobility of machinery
> caused by property rights.
> In the continuation of the production process after
> production where the commodity product is transported
> to the market, there can -- for various (natural or social)
> reasons -- be a gap between the actual output brought to
> market in saleable condition  and the potential commodity
> product brought to market.
> There is then no guarantee that all of the actual output
> will be sold or what the actual prices will be.  It is only
> after the commodity output is sold and values are
> actualized that surplus-value can be converted into
> capital. The actual amount of surplus value reinvested
> as c and v in t + 1 will generally be different from the
> potential amount of surplus value that could have been
> invested because of  the unproductive consumption of
> surplus value by the capitalist class.  What the rate of
> productive and unproductive consumption of surplus
> value will be will not be known until it actually happens.
> Prior to t + 1,  even after capitalists have a sum of
> money-capital ready for purchasing c and v they don't
> know what actual wages will be until after the wage
> contract is renewed and they don't know what the
> actual price and quality of means of production will
> be.
> Both classes recognize the difference between potential and
> actual and this often forms the basis of both 'offensive'
> and 'defensive' struggles by the working class.  E.g. the
> struggle by workers for a short workweek is, in part (but
> only generally, partly) a struggle based on a desire to
> fulfill more of their potential as human beings. The struggle
> by others in capitalist society is also based on their
> recognition as groups and individuals of the discrepancy
> between their potential and their actual conditions.  Social
> movements, e.g. the environmental movement, also
> recognizes this duality.  Indeed, without the recognition
> that there is a difference between the potential and the
> actual, then we would all give up hope and there would
> be no struggles against capital and the state.  But, isn't
> it in our nature as human beings -- even under the worst
> conditions -- to hope for better, to see the potential for
> a better life?
> Etc. Etc. Etc.  At every temporal and spatial step there
> is the possibility and/or the reality of divergences between
> the actual and the potential.  Risk and uncertainty are
> inherent in all moments of the production and circulation
> processes and in the reproduction of capital.  The dichotomy
> between potential and actual is inherent in the money-form,
> the commodity-form, the capital-form and all other forms
> associated with capitalism.
> In solidarity, Jerry
> PS to Paul B:  how is what Engels wrote as an afterward
> to Volume 3 relevant to our understanding of value or
> Marx's understanding of value?

Philip Dunn

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