[OPE-L:1368] Fred's Yarn

John R. Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Fri, 8 Mar 1996 00:14:28 -0800

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Welcome back, Fred. I see you're asking Andrew about Torrens
and the cotton so I thought I'd get back to you concerning
Marx and that YARN.

Back when, you began with a quote from CAPITAL, VOL. I

Fred says:
Marx says:

Each pound of cotton bought at sixpence, and worked up after the rise in
value, transfers to the product a value of one shilling; AND the cotton
already spun BEFORE the rise, and perhaps CIRCULATING IN THE MARKET AS
YARN, similarly TRANSFERS to the product TWICE its ORIGINAL value.
(C.I. 318; emphasis added)

It seems to me that this is an extremely clear statement of Marx's
assumption that the value of constant capital - the value transferred to
price of the product - will change during the production period if there is

a change in production conditions. Can there be any doubt or ambiguity
about the meaning of this sentence? And it should be remembered that this
passage is from the carefully-crafted Volume 1 of Capital, and in the
chapter in which Marx introduced his key concepts of constant capital and
variable capital. I would think that this passage provides Marx's
definitive statement of the determination of constant capital.

John asks:

Perhaps, we asking the wrong questions here. When you, Fred, speak
of "the value of constant capital", I wonder if you are referring
to that value as social or individual value? I think you and Marx
mean the former. But to a large extent, CAPITAL is an attempt to
show how things change or, in this case, how social value becomes
the individual value. Given that, then do we not have to ask about
the individual values in the above?

It would seem that one of peculiarities of the SA is do away
with any process by which the social value falls or increases
to the individual value or even falls below it. Rather, in
the various equilibrium states, the social value is set equal to
the individual value. The process is lost and, at times, value
simply appears and disappears depending upon the equilibrium
requirements. The duality itself evaporates and we could join
that philosopher who stated that "At night, all cows are black."

For me, this is important since my hypothesis is that as we
look at the rate of profit in terms of social value, we see
increases as capital accumulates. On the other hand, if we
view the rate of profit in terms of the creation of individual
value it falls. The manner in which they come together is
the crisis itself. The resulting rate of profit may or may
not be higher as the fall in the rate of profit is a tendency.