Re: [OPE-L] valorisation, realisation, and the two equalities

From: paul bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Sun Sep 23 2007 - 17:09:42 EDT

The ghastly translation 'valorisation' has been discussed before...

it was stuck in instead of  the translation 'self expansion.. and accumulation' of capital used in English before Nicolas.

IMO   'Self expansion' must include  'realisation', the conversion of commodities into money. 'Realisation' is not a subsequent process following 'valorisation' , it is part of it. But but of course those who would want (wrongly) to treat abstract labour time as somehow a directly measurable activity, separate from its money expression, would be being consistent in trying to separate 'valorisation' and 'realisation'.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: <glevy@PRATT.EDU>
Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2007 1:24 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] valorisation, realisation, and the two equalities

>> As I have noted on OPE-L a few times, for Marx the concepts of
>> valorisation of capital and realisation of capital are not the same.
> Hi Jurriaan:
> OK.
>> Valorisation refers to the
>> growth in the VALUE of capital WITHIN the production process, AFTER
>> purchases and BEFORE sales (a moment in the whole process during which
>> the  elements of capital are WITHDRAWN from the market), through the
>> applications of living labour.
> OK again.
>> Valorised capital and realised capital
>> are at any time or during an interval of time different magnitudes, and
>> there exists no logical reason nor empirical reason to believe that the
>> sum of prices must necessarily equal the sum of values at any stage of
>> aggregation, as a  "tidy accounting sum", anymore than total profits
>> from new gross output must equal total surplus values. These identities
>> are assumed by Marx only to model the  distribution of newly created
>> surplus value in the context of  intercapitalist competition. The reason
>> for the non-identity is simply that  at any time the commodities can be
>> bought or sold above or below their value.
> I'd like to hear commentary from others on the list concerning the
> analytial meaning of the two suggested equalities. I think they have
> meaning within Marx's "idealized model" (your expression) but that has
> to be contextualized in terms of the assumptions made at the level of
> analysis (level of abstraction, if you will) of Volume 3 of _Capital_.
>> All this is obvious to anybody familiar with national accounting
>> practice,  which is the most conceptually rigorous system for empirical
>> price  aggregation that exists (even if in reality the empirical
>> estimates are not very rigorously obtained as the case might be). Marx
>> generally assumed a  MELT of some sort in order to be able to talk of
>> goods being traded above  or
>> below value, and he argued that the differences between total values and
>> total prices pertaining to the gross output (the "value of production")
>> would not be so great. But most probably, not having access to
>> comprehensive  economic data, he conflated idealisations and the
>> empiria. It is not  necessary for total prices and total values to be
>> equal for Marx's theory  to  be valid, the only requirement is that
>> there must be a determinate  quantitative relationship between them. But
>> that determinate relationship  cannot be empirically proved, only
>> empirically corroborated, in particular  if it is not feasible to
>> operationalise a MELT empirically in any accurate
>> way. It remains a theory or hypothesis which if true would explain a lot.
>> If  the validity of Marx's theory is staked on the ability to achieve a
> "nice  and tidy accounting sum" in an idealised model, this is a big
>> epistemological error for many reasons which I cannot all go into now,
>> but  not the least because the people actually doing the base accounts
>> already have trouble to achieve an exact consolidation.
>> Contrary to the Marxists, I argue that the surplus value contained in the
>> Marxian value product is not "redistributed" among capitalists, within
>> Marx's model (abstracting from state redistribution) because that would
>> mean  parts of surplus value are transferred between capitals.
> That (the redistribution of surplus value among capitalists) is another
> topic thatwould be worth flushing out for us to identify the extent to
> which there is disagreement on the list about this issue and the differing
> logic of the alternative positions.
> In solidarity, Jerry
> (continuation of JB's post:)
>> In reality it is
>> just that some capitals realise more of the valorised capital value, and
>> some realise less than the valorised capital value. The aim of capitalist
>> production is to buy below value, produce below value and sell above
>> value
>> as much as possible. Marx's principle is that for goods sold above value,
>> other goods are necessarily sold below value, but this is more or less a
>> tautology. This is also what he says in the Wagner quote, i.e. the more a
>> commodity is sold over its value, the more other commodities will be sold
>> under their value "by exactly the same amount, even if their own money
>> price
>> does not fall". But it is not even necessary that they will be sold under
>> their value "by exactly the same amount".
>> Ever since Leontief, partly inspired by Marx, invented input-output
>> economics, the economics profession has buzzed with the notions of inputs
>> and outputs which have also been used in national accounts and
>> increasingly
>> used in management of all kinds. But this focus on inputs and outputs is
>> in
>> many respects confusing, since these things refer to accounting flows
>> computed from expenditures and revenues in line with certain accounting
>> definitions. Marx himself was primarily concerned not with inputs and
>> outputs, but with how a sum of capital is converted into a larger sum of
>> capital through production, and how this capital is distributed. What
>> makes
>> his theory unique is that he argues that the distribution of newly
>> produced
>> capital is fundamentally determined by the conditions of its mode of
>> production, exactly the reverse of the way in which it appears to most
>> investors.
>> If this interpretation is correct it does not mean that only a qualitative
>> value theory is possible - we can measure and quantify a lot of things
>> empirically which can provide useful insight. It means only that we are
>> able
>> to theorise far more, and in far greater complexity, than we are actually
>> able to observe or measure.

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