Re: [OPE-L] interpretations of capital and Marx

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Mon Mar 12 2007 - 14:46:26 EDT

Definitions serve lots of different purposes.  Sometimes, as when we say water is H2O, we try to capture the full nature of a thing, often by giving an account of a deep structure.  The definition offered below does a lot, but it doesn't do that.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: B.R.Bapuji 
  Sent: Monday, March 12, 2007 11:41 AM
  Subject: Re: [OPE-L] interpretations of capital and Marx

  It is neither wrong nor logically inconsistent if we define capital, by following Marx, as 'money that makes more money' for the following reasons:
  When we say 'capital', it includes both 'constant capital' and 'variable capital'. But 'constant capital' is that part of money which does not make more money (that is its value remains constant) while 'variable capital' is that part of money which makes more money (that is it creates more value than its own). This is internal aspect of capital as a whole. The external aspect or result of capital is the fact that some amount of money invested in production process makes more money at the end of the process (though realised in circulation process). We have formulae like 'm-c-m1'.

  Jerry Levy <Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM> wrote:
    > Capital is not "defined" as "money that makes more money".


    If capital is defined as "money that makes more money" how can
    you ALSO claim that there is "constant capital"?

    > And I would argue that an advantage of my interpretation is that it
    > makes Marx's theory a logically consistent, without unsolved "logical
    > problems" that have to be dealt with. Why not give Marx the "benefit
    > of the doubt", instead of insisting on an interpretation for which
    > there remains unsolved logical problems?

    The same question has been asked repeatedly by Freeman and Kliman.

    Instead of asking "why not give Marx the benefit of the doubt?" you
    should have asked "Why not give *my interpretation* the benefit of the
    doubt?" since neither you nor Kliman nor Freeman (nor anyone else) can
    speak for Marx.

    I find the "why not give Marx the benefit of the doubt?" question to be
    similar to a claim that we "trust you", i.e. it embodies a presumption that
    Marx was the authority and that given two sets of claims (Marx was right
    or Marx was wrong) we should favor the interpretation that says that
    Marx was right.

    Why apply this standard to Marx alone? Why not say, for instance, that
    if there are two interpretations of Sraffa (one that says that Sraffa was
    right and the other that says that Sraffa was wrong) then we should give
    Sraffa "the benefit of the doubt" and favor the interpretation which says
    that Sraffa was right?

    The reason we shouldn't apply the "benefit of the doubt" argument to
    Marx, Sraffa, or ANYONE, is that we have to be CRITICAL OF

    *NO* authority -- Marx or anyone else -- is entitled to special, privileged

    In solidarity, Jerry

  B.R.Bapuji, Professor,
  Centre for Applied Linguistics & Translation Studies,
  University of Hyderabad, Central University post office,
  HYDERABAD-500 046. (Phone:91-40-23133655,23133650 or 23010161).
  Residence address:
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