From: Pen-L Fred Moseley (fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU)
Date: Thu Mar 15 2007 - 10:59:21 EDT
Quoting Jerry Levy <Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM>: >> Capital is not "defined" as "money that makes more money". > > Fred: > > If capital is defined as "money that makes more money" how can > you ALSO claim that there is "constant capital"? Hi Jerry, My cryptic definition of capital as “money that makes more money” was perhaps too cryptic, and perhaps misleading, especially in the case of constant capital. A better, less cryptic definition would be “money invested to make more money”. This definition would obviously include constant capital as well as variable capital. The whole M = C + V is invested in order to make more money. According to Marx’s theory, only the variable capital actually “makes more money”, but the constant capital must also be invested, and is invested for the same purpose, and goes through the same process. The title of Part 2 of Volume 1 is “the transformation of MONEY into CAPITAL”. This does not mean that money is transformed into something that is not money. Rather it means the transformation of money in general to money which performs specific functions and which goes through its own form of circulation: M – C – M’, which is of course the “general formula for 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 > *ALL*. > > *NO* authority -- Marx or anyone else -- is entitled to special, privileged > treatment. I am not saying that we should give Marx the “benefit of the doubt” because he obviously made a mistake, and we should forgive him for that. Rather, I am saying that there are two different possible interpretations of Marx, both with substantial textual evidence. According to one interpretation, Marx made a mistake with the transformation problem, and according to the other interpretation, Marx did not make this mistake. So in this “toss-up” situation, why not accept the interpretation that makes Marx’s theory a logically consistent whole, rather than insist on the interpretation with logical mistakes? And yes, I would apply the same criterion to Sraffa and to others. This does not mean that Marx or Sraffa is necessarily “right”, but that when there is uncertainty in their writings, which can be interpreted in different ways, that priority be given to those interpretations that make the theory internally logically consistent. To me this seems to be the most reasonable and the most "fair to the author" way to go. Comradely, Fred ---------------------------------------------------------------- This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.
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