[OPE-L:3590] Single-table example in Vol.III, Ch. 9

aramos@aramos.b (aramos@aramos.bo)
Mon, 4 Nov 1996 11:34:04 -0800 (PST)

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(I) Antecedents

Textual evidence for a "single-system"/"non-dualist" interpretation
of price-value relation has been discussed in OPE-L 3573, 3590 and
3585. In OPE-L 3585 I discussed the relation between the text
published by Engels in 1894 and the "main manuscript" of Vol. III
published in 1992 in MEGA, Section 2, Vol. 4.2, regarding the single-
table example. (Since OPE-L 3585 is a expanded and revised version of
OPE-L 3580, the latter could be deleted.)


(a) In the text published by Engels, there is a single-table example
of the transformation (See, Vol.III, Penguin/Vintage, p. 264). This
example is almost universally neglected.

(b) The "main manuscript" does not contain the single-table example,
but contains a paragraph of 28 lines suppressed by Engels (See MEGA,
Section 2, Vol. 4.2, p. 240). In this paragraph, Marx clearly defines:

Werth = KostenpreiB + Mehrwerth
ProductionspreiB = KostenpreiB + Profit

Using Marx's notation there:

W = K + m
P = K + p'

where p' indicates that is it the profit calculated according to the
general rate of profit.

That is, we have here, clearly presented, a "non-dualist" definition
of value as it has been defended by Roberts, Kliman, McGlone,
Carchedi, Freeman and other authors.

(c) In OPE-L 3585, I numbered the paragraphs in discussion (using the
pagination of Penguin/Vintage) as follows:

1. (p. 263) Para.: "In Volumes 1 and 2..." Similar to the "main
2. Passage suppressed by Engels containing the "non-dualistic"
definitions of value and production price.
3. (p. 263) Para.: "If we take..." Similar to the "main
4. (p. 263) Para.: "The specific degree..." This paragraph should
contain the single-table, but it is not there.
5. (p. 264) Para.: "The development..." Similar to "main

(d) In OPE-L 3585, I suggested that the possible inclusion of the
single-table by Engels would compensate the suppression of paragraph
2, because the table offers in a "practical" way, the same
definitions of value and production price.

(II) More evidence

Now, a careful reading of paragraph 3 has convinced me that,
actually, the single-table example is already presented in
paragraph 3. In fact, the definitions of value and production price
given in the suppressed paragraph 2, are used by Marx in the "hidden"
table of paragraph 3. I also confronted this paragraph with that
correponding to the "main manuscript", and I found only small formal
differences between both versions. The only exception is that Marx
speaks about the ORGANIC composition of capital, a word that, it
seems, was eliminated by Engels. So, the single-table example is
already presented in the "main manuscript", written between 1864-65.

I will quote "in extenso" paragraph 3 and, then, present the single-
table example contained in it. I use the Foreign Languages Publishing
House English version (Moscow, 1962, p. 161) because it seems to me
that the translation from MEW, Vol. 25, p. 173 is better than that of
Penguin/Vintage. In this edition, see p. 263.

(III) Paragraph 3

"Suppose the composition of the average social capital is 80c+20v,
and the annual rate of surplus-value, s', is 100%. In that case, the
average annual profit for a capital of 100 = 20, and the general
annual rate of profit = 20%.

"Whatever the cost-price, k, of the commodities annually produced by
a capital of 100, their price of production would then be k+20.

"In those spheres of production in which the composition of capital
would = (80-x)c+(20+x)v, the actually produced surplus value, or the
annual profit produced in that particular sphere, would be 20+x, that
is, greater than 20, and *the value of the produced commodities =
k+20+x*, that is, greater than k+20, or greater than their price of

"In those spheres, in which the composition of the capital =
(80+x)c+(20-x)v, the annually produced surplus-value, or profit,
would = 20x, or less than 20, and consequently *the value of the
commodities k+20-x* less than the price of production, which = k+20.

"Aside from possible differences in the periods of turnover, the
price of production of the commodities would then equal their value
only in spheres, in which the composition would happen to be

(I added emphases (*...*) regarding the definitions of value.)

(IV) The "hidden" table

It is clear that a careful reading of paragraph 3 permits one to
easily construct the "hidden" single-table example of the
transformation contained in it.


Given the problems with the downloading of tables, note that the
following Table has 7 columns and 6 rows:

Column (1): Sph.: Spheres I, II and III.
Column (2): Com.: Composition: l: low; h: high; a: average
Column (3): Cost-Prices
Column (4): PR: Profit
Column (5): PP: Production Price
Column (6): SV: Surplus-value
Column (7): Value

Row 1: Titles of columns
Row 2: Numbers of columns
Row 3: Sphere I
Row 4: Sphere II
Row 5: Sphere III
Row 6: Total


rate of surplus-value = m' = 100%
rate of profit = 20%
Cost-price in each sphere = k = 100


Sph Com Cost-prices PR PP SV Value
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

I l (80-x)c+(20+x)v=k=100 20 k+20=120 20+x k+20+x
II h (80+x)c+(20-x)v=k=100 20 k+20=120 20-x k+20-x
III a 80c + 20v =k=100 20 k+20=120 20 k+20

Tot 240c + 60v =300 60 360 60 360

So, it is clear that the definitions of value and production price
given in the text suppressed by Engels are actually used in
paragraph 3. In particular, it is clear that value is equal to cost-
price + surplus-value and that cost-price is a common element of
both production price and value. It is also clear that the
(eventual) contribution of Engels as editor merely would amount to
decide that x=10. In that case, the above table becomes the table we
have in Vol. III, Penguin/Vintage, p. 264.

(V) Additional observations

1. Despite he does not deal with the "issue of the tables", I find
very important the textual evidence for a non-dualistic
interpretation gathered by Bruce Roberts in his dissertation: Value
Categories and Marxian Method. A Different View of Value-Price
Transformation, 1981, pp. 166-179.

2. A "funny" detail of the single-table example in Penguin p. 264 is
that it is very easy to "convert" it into a two-sectors simple
reproduction example. To do that, it is only necessary to assume that
spheres I and II produce means of production and sphere III produces
means of consuption. Total constant capital = 240, the same amount
produced by I+II, and variable capital + surplus-value = 120, the
same amount produced by III. (On this, see Rodriguez A., "Le travail
et la formation des prix", PhD Dissertation, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1994.)

This is much more simple than the "changes" done by Bortkiewicz
regarding the "conversion" of the three/two tables example
(Penguin/Vintage, pp. 255-6) into a simple reproduction schema. Of
course, using the single-table example, there is no Bortkiewicz-like
objection concerning the possibility to fulfill the reproduction when
values are transformed into production prices.

This also shows the very biased reading of Marx's text done by
Bortkiewicz and other dualists. The single-table example is there
since 1894. Notwithstanding this, it is not cited. We could say
that even this table is not SEEN; actually, it seems that it is
"invisible" for Marx's interpreters. This is only the result of the
poverty of the critical work done until now on Marx's texts.

3. It is important to underline that the single-table example comes
AFTER the three/two tables example. So, it can be thought that this
is the LAST VERSION of the transformation presented by Marx. (A list
of the tabular solutions of the transformation can be found in Ramos
and Rodriguez, "The transformation of values into production prices:
A different reading of Marx's text", in Marx and Non-Equilibrium
Economics, Elgar, 1996, p. 74, footnote 11.)

Alejandro Ramos M., 4.11.96