[OPE-L:74] RE: More Paradox of Book I, Ch 25 (more digression)

Michael A. Lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Tue, 19 Sep 1995 08:15:09 -0700

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In message Sun, 17 Sep 1995 22:55:24 -0700,
"John R. Ernst" <ernst@pipeline.com> writes:

> Mike,
> I am not sure if we agree or disagree on tha matter of the nature of the
> variables in
> the accumulation process. Your point in OPE-L:65, reproduced below,
> seems to
> show how the rate of accumulation does indeed become the independent
> variable
> once fixed capital becomes part of the accumulation process.
The distinction I am concerned with is between an "inner" and an "outer"
account. To understand accumulation and the rate of accumulation, we first
must grasp the concepts of value, the value of labour-power, surplus value
(among others); this is the inner order. In Ch. 25, however, a different,
outer, order is demonstrated and announced-- from rate of accumulation to
the wage; it is the order appropriate to markets, prices, competition (which
Marx does not logically address until III,10) and, in competition everything
is reversed (as Marx says on several occasions).
Now, if we are concerning ourselves only with the outer, then Marx's
statement that the wage is the dependent variable would hold; however, he
describes the rate of accumulation as the independent variable in the first
part of Ch 25 where the assumption is that there is no increase in the
technical composition of capital (so there might as well be no fixed
capital). It is the second part, where the technical composition increases,
that the wage is affected not by the rate of accumulation as such but by the
size of the reserve army and, thus, that the existence of fixed capital is
I don't know whether this is a digression (as Jerry described it
initially) or a preview of discussions to come. 8-)
in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
Home: (604) 255-0382
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e-mail: mlebowit@sfu.ca