[OPE] The availabilty of labor power in the context of expanded reproduction schemes

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Thu Jul 16 2009 - 10:50:44 EDT


I still do not completely follow the logic of your argument. Surely the
rising VCC can go together with both expanding labor supply, a constant
labour supply or contracting labor supply? Empirical evidence suggests that
this is the case. For example, at the end of the long boom 1947-1973, during
which the VCC rose, there was a labor shortage. But when this labor shortage
subsequently turned into mass unemployment, the VCC still continued to rise.

In Capital Volume one, Marx is concerned with the relationships involved in
the immediate production process of capital, he assumes inputs are bought at
value and that all output is sold at value (even although he knows very
well, that capitalists all aim to buy cheap and sell dear, they are
constrained in this only by competition and market demand).

In Capital Volume 2, Marx argues that what must be demonstrated is how the
economic reproduction process which must occur in ANY society can now be
accomplished totally by means of the circulation of capital, and thus, the
circulation of capital which "mediates" the reproduction process must
conform to certain physical or economic (structural) necessities. But I
think Marx's text is by no means "only" about how the circulation of capital
can reconcile the growth of Department I and Department II.

The more capital grows, the bigger the discrepancy becomes between the
"minimal capital required for simple reproduction", and the "maximum capital
available for expanded reproduction". This means that the accumulation
process itself creates a great deal of possible flexibility and variability
between "minimal simple reproduction" and "maximal expanded reproduction".

I think you can infer a number of "structural constraints" for the growth
of capital from Capital Vol. 2, but not all that many "laws of development".

As regards dialectical or paraconsistent reasoning, I regard it as
non-arbitrary reasoning, but not as deductively compelling reasoning since
it does not lead by logically necessity to only one conclusion (although it
also rules out many conclusions). Personally I tend to think "systematic
dialectics" is rather scholastic, and there is no proof that there is a

In dialectical thinking, any category can be deduced from any other category
with the aid of a sufficient number of mediating links, and that is indeed
precisely why Marx objected against the "Left Hegelians" and Proudhon
because their "method of dialectical apposition" was arbitrary, if not
altogether just a playing with word meanings.

I think Marx could have organised the narrative of his theoretical arguments
("the method of presentation") in numerous different ways, and indeed the
different plans he had for his treatise on political economy show, that he
envisaged various different possible sequences of narrative. He wrote far
more manuscript that he actually ended up using and it is no clear why the
manuscripts he left behind should be ordered ion any specific way. It is
therefore inapposite to suggest, that there must be only "one necessary
sequence" for the introduction of assumptions and arguments, in conformity
with a dialectical principle.

That is, Marx could have "deduced" the set of arguments he has, by means of
numerous different kinds of narratives. For example, he could have started
his book with competition or with profit, and then inquire into the source
of these, in order then to arrive, by steps, at all the other premises in
his argument. Or, he could have started with the analysis of the labour
process. Quite simply, he could have written Das Kapital in many different
ways, and there was no logical necessity to write the narrative in any
particular way. He just preferred a certain sequence.

It is of course legitimate to argue that Marx "should have written it this
way or that way" to make his own argument more convincing, and indeed e.g.
Kozo Uno does exactly that. However, the proviso is, that we do not confuse
the method of narrative (of story-telling) with the logical content of
arguments. At the conclusion of a dialectical story, all its elements are
arranged in a logically consistent way so that the whole story "explains
itself" but the point is that the elements could have been arranged in
various different ways.

The math in Capital Vol. 2 was comprehensively corrected by Engels. Engels
reports that "Despite Marx's firm grasp of algebra, he was never at ease in
reckoning with figures... in his turnover calculations Marx became
confused..." (Penguin edition, p. 359).


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