Re: [OPE-L] Truncating Marx's "Capital"

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Fri Aug 31 2007 - 08:23:54 EDT

> The punchline is that the value remaining in capital goods that have
> already gone through a production cycle is indeterminate, especially
> because of changes in reproduction costs of the capital.  As a result,
> one cannot know how much value will be transferred to the final product
> from the constant capital because of this indeterminacy.
> I discussed this with Andrew when he was a student assistant at RRPE, but
> he was very young at the time and I'm not sure how much of my thinking
> registered with him.

Hi Michael:

You've raised this same issue on numerous occasions on OPE-L, including
when Andrew was on the list. Yet, you haven't gotten too much by way of
responses - if my memory is correct. Is it perhaps because it is a "hot
potato" issue?  Is that because there those who are so committed to
creating determinant and solvable equations?

Part of the disagreement here, I'm sure, is methodological. From a
history of thought perspective, I think that many endeavors which
"truncated Marxism" were connected to a form of "quantitative Marxism"
among economists sometimes called "algebraic Marxism". Obviously this is
not the intellectual tradition you are coming from.

I think the ontological issue is the extent to which uncertainty and
indeterminacy are necessary consequences and aspects of the value-form.  I
think this should be clear from a theoretical perspective, but your
historical and empirical explorations would have confirmed that insight.
It's hard, after all, for someone who is familiar with the history of
capitalism to get too excited about the "transformation problem".  History
is always messier than abstract theory.

In solidarity, Jerry

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