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

From: Michael Perelman (michael@ECST.CSUCHICO.EDU)
Date: Fri Aug 31 2007 - 11:50:32 EDT

Thank you for your response, Jerry.  I see Marx is having two sides.  Sometimes, he
treats value very quantitatively.  Sometimes, he is more sensitive to the qualitative
nature of value theory.  I have tried to bring attention to the neglect of the
qualitative side, but without any success.

On Fri, Aug 31, 2007 at 08:23:54AM -0400, glevy@PRATT.EDU wrote:
> > 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

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 530-898-5321
E-Mail michael at

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