Re: [OPE-L] glossary for V1 of _Capital

From: Ian Hunt (ian.hunt@FLINDERS.EDU.AU)
Date: Wed Jan 09 2008 - 23:03:10 EST

How you define the growth of a relation is matter 
of theoretical requirements: in common sense 
terms you can say that a relation grows if the 
number of things related by it grows. Parenthood 
grows if the number of children grows (the 
typical case) or if the number of parents grows. 
So you can define accumulation of capital as 
growth of one pole (capital) with respect to the 
other pole (labour) as Marx implicitly does in V1 
Capital in the general law of capital 
accumulation (he adds that this growth is also a 
growth of misery etc at the other pole)

>I am not criticizing Marx; I have no objections 
>to the quote that Howard gave. My only point was 
>to force the terminology to be more precise: If 
>one claims that "capital is a relation" then 
>what precisely, if anything, does "accumulation" 
>Depending on the use of "capital" it can mean the growth of
>   1. a certain quantity of money.
>   2. the means of production.
>   3. a relation.
>(1) is very superficial. For instance, a growth 
>in debt of one agent to another would constitute 
>accumulation of capital. It is possible to 
>quantify, but as Paul C mentions it is a 
>slippery concept.
>(2) may at first seem problematic because it is 
>a heterogeneous collection of goods, i.e. a 
>vector, but this is not a problem if one 
>measures its total labour-value. Note, however, 
>that a socialist economy would also "accumulate 
>capital" in this sense. Therefore, as Ian 
>mentions, it is important to distinguish (1) and 
>(2) as "money-capital" and "real capital" 
>(3) I found ambiguous and tried to answer using 
>set theory, which essentially means a growth in 
>the workforce employed by capitalist firms. It 
>seems like Paul Z had a similar use in mind. 
>This is quantifiable too and in is the long-run 
>bounded by population dynamics.
>Finally, in an article Paul Z also suggests that 
>capital should be measured by the rate of 
>exploitation, but this is hard to claim to be an 
>accumulation of some quantity.
>//Dave Z
>on 2008-01-09 18:54 Dogan Goecmen wrote:
>>Dave, we seem to need some clarifications here.
>>Marx defines capital explicitly as relation 
>>because isolated approach would not make any 
>>So for example an approach to capital without 
>>considering labour would not make any sense.
>>If you are arguing against Marx's conception of 
>>capital please make it explicit so we know how 
>>approach your claims. Methodologically, 
>>relational approach goes back to Leibniz, 
>>Smith, Hegel and Marx - not to Descartes.
>>-----Ursprüngliche Mitteilung-----
>>Von: Dave Zachariah <davez@KTH.SE>
>>Verschickt: Mi., 9. Jan. 2008, 18:40
>>Thema: Re: [OPE-L] glossary for V1 of _Capital
>>on 2008-01-09 15:53 Paul Zarembka wrote: > I 
>>don't think so but I suppose this is clear 
>>enough from my messages. > Paul > > --On 
>>1/9/2008 3:23 PM +0100 Dave Zachariah 
>>wrote: > >> But if one says that capital *is* a 
>>relation, then "capital >> accumulation" >> --- 
>>by definition a quantitative process --- loses 
>>its meaning and >> Marxist >> economic theory 
>>will be obscured. >>  Ok, I know you disagree. 
>>But then if capital is by itself a relation, 
>>what does it mean to "accumulate relations"? 
>>Can an agent do so or only the economic system? 
>>Relations are subsets of cartesian products 
>>between sets of agents. Then according to the 
>>argument above, "capital accumulation" suggests 
>>that the cardinality of relation (set) that 
>>constitutes capital is increasing.  //Dave Z 
>>Bei AOL gibt's jetzt kostenlos eMail für alle! 
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Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
Dept  of Philosophy, School of Humanities,
Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
Flinders University of SA,
Humanities Building,
Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784

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