[OPE-L:3594] Re: constant capital and variable capital (fw

aramos@aramos.b (aramos@aramos.bo)
Tue, 5 Nov 1996 03:20:31 -0800 (PST)

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In OPE-L:3587, Fred -commenting on the paragraphs devoted to the
"commodities of average composition" (Capital 3, Ch. 12, pp. 308-20)-
stresses that, there, Marx presents the following equations
corresponding to the price and value of the "average commodity":

> prices of production = cost price + profit
> = k + p
> = k + s
> = value

Then, Fred argues:

> In other words, the cost-price of the average commodity is not
> affected by the transformation of values into prices of
> production. This key point is indicated by the fact that, in
> Marxs equations, the same k (the cost-price) is a component BOTH
> of the value of the average commodity AND of the price of
> production of this commodity.


> If this invariance of the cost-price (constant capital and variable
> capital) is true for commodities produced with capitals of
> average composition, ***then this invariance is also true for all
> other capitals*** (emphasis added).

I think we have the textual evidence for this Fred's last statement in
Capital III, Ch. 9, p 263, precisely in the paragraph which bebings
"If we take..."

As I show in OPE-L 3590, in this paragraph there is a "hidden"
single-table of the transformation in which the value and the
price of production of capitals WITH DIFFERENT COMPOSITION have, as
common element, the cost-price, "k"

In this paragraph Marx uses the same notation (cost-price = k) as in
the passage of Ch. 12 quoted by Fred. The paragraph of p. 263 comes
immediatly after of that omitted by Engels, where also the same
notation defining value and price of production is used.

In more general terms, I think that in Ch. 9, p. 263 (in paragraph
"In Volumes 1 and 2...") we have a "new beginning" of Marx's
presentation, different from those done with the three/two tables
example, which is similar to those presented, for example in

So, it seems that from p. 263 on, Marx decides to re-present the
whole thing, using probably a single-table example. The first thing
he writes are, precisely, the definitions of value and production
price given in the paragraph omitted by Engels; then, comes the
"hidden table" and, in the next paragraph, this "hidden table" is
presented in a more "algebraical" way. Then, comes the decisive
paragraph where he says that cost-prices correspond to the production
prices (not to the value contained) of means of production and means
of consumption.

It is also important to note that the single-table example in pp. 263-
4 is:

a) more simple than the cumbersone 5 sectors one, and
b) more "algebraical" or "formally" elaborated.

So, we should re-read the three/two tables example in the light of
this single-table example. Doing so, we can see that the three/two
tables example presented by Marx (pp. 255-6) has a FUNDAMENTAL
DIFFERENCE with those coming from Bortkiewicz's reading.

In effect, according to Bort. the two tables presented in
Penguin p. 256 represent, the first, a "system of values" and, the
second, a "system of prices" completely separated one of another.
However, this reading is WRONG for a very simple reason: The second
Marx's table has a column devoted to VALUES, which was SUPPRESSED (in
this case, I think, Allin would not have objection to the use of
this word) by Bortkiewicz (See Bort. version in the "Value and
Price...", p. 8).

We all know that Bortkiewicz is very careful to explain how he
changes the tables in order to convert them into a simple

So, the matter is very simple:

a) In Marx three/two tables example, we have that the table
supposedly corresponding to the "system of prices" HAS ALSO A COLUMN
OF VALUES. (Another "anomaly" that the "dualistic paradigm" cannot

b) In Bortkiewicz version of this table, THE COLUMN OF VALUE HAS BEEN
whole "dualistic tradition" has uncritically accepted the suppression
of this column.

So, we could re-read the last table of p. 256 also as a single-table
example, in which values an production prices are defined, as in
the paragraph omitted by Engels, as:

Werth = KostenpreiB + Mehrwerth
ProductionspreiB = KostenpreiB + Profit

We can think, then, that after the three/two tables cumbersome
example, Marx decided to construct a more simple, "clean" example
containing only one table and using more "algebra" than "numbers".
This "new presentation" would begin, precisely, with the clear
definitions, unfortunately, omitted by Engels.

So, I agree completely with Fred regarding his references to Ch. 12
and think that they support what we can find in Ch. 9. I think that
we have to work more in the "presetantion structure" of these
chapters, using the "main manuscript".

Alejandro Ramos, 5.11.96