Re: [OPE-L] Capital in General

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Mon Oct 17 2005 - 11:00:19 EDT

Dear Comrades,
        A few quick and inadequate responses to the interesting posts.
Unfortunately, they are the best I can do until I have the time again
to read and contemplate. (This is not at all a complaint--- just my excuse.)
1. Firstly to Andrew et al, I haven't thought about the question of
form vs 'appearance form'. My ignorance on this question is such that
I can't recall ever hearing about distinction before Andrew's post.
(I expose myself here.) My basic concern is more specific--- what is
the relation between Marx's analysis of capital in general and
capitals in competition? I view these as two different logical
spheres and think that Marx maintains the distinction in Capital and
furthermore demonstrates (and repeats) his point there that in
competition everything is reversed. (Recall the apparent movement of
the planets.) This is consistent with the Vol. III statements that
profit and price are surface forms of the inner categories of surplus
value and value, respectively.
2. Fred, Jerry is right: I was not proposing that surplus value and
profit are different magnitudes; on the contrary, as Andrew reminds
us, 'essence must appear' , and I have no reason to think that it
appears in a different magnitude (except, of course, for the
subdivision of surplus value). On the other hand, I do not view
surplus value as prior in time (as opposed to logic) to its form(s).
Therefore, for me, distribution (including 'transformation') is a
logical rather than a temporal process. I'm assuming that you
disagree--- that there is a state in time in which surplus value
exists prior to its distribution.
3. Michael H, we are in agreement that use of terminology is not
trivial (and, I point out that Marx continued in Capital to speak
about 'the special study of wage-labour' yet to be done), but that
the real question is what he did in practice. It's not clear to me at
this point (a) why exactly you argue that interest is 'a category
belonging to the inner structure of capital' or (b) how you reconcile
your argument about competition with the point about how 'in
competition everything is reversed'.
        Sorry this is all I have time for and I hope I've clarified (rather
than further muddied) some of these questions.
                in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

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