[OPE-L:578] Re: International value.

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Mon, 27 Nov 1995 20:15:36 -0800

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Steve K. wrote in #537 [951122]:

> The answer Marx gave every time *bar one* was as Paul put it, which
> supports the concept of a conservation of value. However, there is
> one occasion when he gave an arithmetic example which cannot be
> interpreted as showing the conservation of value (John Ernst and
> I have been discussing this on and off the marxism list). This is
> as good a time as any to throw it into OPE-L.
> While considering the question of why a capitalist might rationally
> decide to introduce new technology which increases the organic
> composition of capital, Marx provides several examples where, in
> effect, value is conserved: the total value created in production
> equals the depreciation of fixed capital, the value of materials
> used up, and the labor expended (with surplus coming
> only from the difference between the value of labor-power, and
> labor itself, both measured in labor-time). A more capital
> intensive technology has a higher depreciation contribution to
> output, but the same necessary and surplus labor.
> Then Marx says:
> "It also has to be postulated (which was not done above) that *the
> use-value of the machine significantly (sic) greater than its value*;
> i.e. that its devaluation in th service of production is not
> proportional to its increasing effect on production." (The Grundrisse,
> p. 383. Emphasis added.)
> Marx then presents the following example of technical change:
> Capital Deprec- Mat- Labor Profit Output in Total
> ist iation erials Sheets Price
> I 3 30 40 10 30 83
> II 6 100 40 13 1/3 100 159
> Any takes on this?
Check out Volume 28 of the _Collected Works_. The quote above and the
numerical example cited are more clearly understood in this, more
accurate, edition (the quote itself appears on p. 309). An interesting
footnote appears on p. 310. For context, see especially pages 311-12.

In OPE-L Solidarity,