RE: [OPE] devaluation and revaluation of variable capital

Date: Sun Feb 17 2008 - 07:18:09 EST

> The ambiguity is who the "costs" are costs to - costs to the owners of capital, costs to workers, or costs in the economic reproduction process > viewed in its totality. 
Hi Jurriaan:
My take on the cause of the "ambiguity" is that Marx wanted
a sort of parallelism: i.e. "elements of variable capital" as a  
sort of dual to "elements of constant capital".  There are some
problems, we seem to agree, with the under-developed concept
of "elements of variable capital". 
Yet, what you wrote above could also be re-phrased
to deal with  the cheapening of elements of constant capital
since more than one party is impacted by the changing costs:
a.  the individual rates of profit are changed for firms and branches 
of production which sell commodities which become elements of 
C to other firms:
b. the individual rates of profit are changed for the firms which buy
these commodities which then become for them elements of
c. the living standards of workers can change if the cheapening
of the elements of C allows firms to sell commodities at  lower
prices to workers;
d. the overall process of reproduction and the general rate of
profit can be changed.
(there is also the issue of credit ....)
Hence, what you call an "ambiguity", and I see more as a 
complexity, arises also with the devaluation and revaluation
of elements of C.
> The argument about "devaluation or revaluation of variable capital" really applies only to the economy as a whole, i.e. to the specific intersection > of the five main variables mentioned in the pure case. In other respects, variable capital is "revalued or devalued" only by the result of the 
> valorization and realization process, i.e. by the return for the capital outlay invested.
It is an argument about both the economy as a whole and 
individual branches of production: Marx's focus on the 
"micro" as well as "macro" aspects is quite clear in the
In solidarity, Jerry

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