[OPE-L:1768] Re: Accumulation of capital in Ch. 24, V1

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Sat, 13 Apr 1996 21:57:29 -0700

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Paul Z in [OPE-L:1767] wrote:

> Jerry, I am at a loss for words. <snip> In my understanding (I'm sorry
> to have to put it so straight), a definition is not structured around "is
> a consequence or expression of...". How do I say it more clearly? A
> "consequence of" is the B of an A to B flow or movement. An "expression of"
> is more fuzzy. Neither, to me, means "definition".

I'll try again:


"The employment of surplus-value as capital, or its reconversion into
capital" (Penguin ed., p. 725)

It *necessarily follows* , based on the above definition, that the
accumulation of capital can be increased by:

* increasing the magnitude of surplus value (holding the division of s
into capital and revenue constant);


* increasing the productive consumption of surplus value (holding the
magnitude of surplus value constant).

> (If I were to
> ask you the definition of "value", what sentence structure would you use?)

No one has asked that question before on this mailing list. Just to show
you how non-evasive I am, I will give an initial - controversial -

*Value*: the socially necessary labor time represented in a commodity by
its production.

... *but* the problem with definitions, though, is that they are both the
results of prior analysis and the presuppositions of further analysis.
Consequently, giving a definition *alone* does not tell us much.

> A personal P.S.:
> I guess I'm running into a dead end. I don't know what else to say.

Hopefully the above clears the road for further discussion.

> You mention that I am a "hard man to please". I guess that is the
> lot of those of us on the left. But I'm not trying to be difficult
> and in any case thought I had certain credit to be difficult just
> once on OPE (I've laid low on almost all of the discussion on value
> theory). Oh, well.

Those who know me know that I can occasionally be "difficult" as well
and am most certainly a hard man to please. So, don't worry about it. I
still wonder, though: where do you want us to go with this discussion?

As for value theory, I will make the following assertion:

-- The definition that I give above for the accumulation of capital is
*necessarily based* on Marx's understanding of value. It is a *result* of
that understanding.

In OPE-L Solidarity,