[OPE-L:4293] Re: cost-price and all that

Michael_A._Lebowit (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Fri, 7 Mar 1997 01:32:01 -0800 (PST)

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In message Tue, 4 Mar 1997 06:40:46 -0800 (PST),
Gerald Levy <glevy@pratt.edu> writes:

> In the very first paragraph of V3, Marx attempts to explain the relation
> of that volume to V1 and V2 and the subject matter of V3 and says:
> "Our concern is rather to discover and present the concrete forms
> which grow out of the *process of capital's movement considered
> as a whole*. In their actual movement, capitals confront one
> another in certain concrete forms, and, in relation to these, both
> the shape capital assumes in the immediate production process and
> its shape in the process of circulation appear merely as particular
> movements. The configuration of capital, as developed in this
> volume, thus approach step by step the form in which they appear on
> the surface of society, in the action of different capitals on one
> another, i.e. in competition, and in the everyday consciousness of
> the agents of production themselves" (Penguin ed., p. 117).

I think it would be quite interesting to know if this paragraph was
Marx's. Does it date back to 1864-5 with its (earlier) references to the 2nd
and 3rd volumes, Part III,etc? Does anyone have access to Marx's version?

> The very next paragraph begins with the familiar C = c + v + s. Two short
> paragraphs later, Marx introduces the topic of cost price.
> This transition seems pretty seemless to me, I must say. Cost price is a
> category of concretion that appears on the "surface of society" and in
> the "everyday consciousness" of capitalists

So is "price". Why not precede cost-price with price?

> whereas the category of
> surplus-value is veiled by the market and does not enter into "everyday
> consciousness."

Jerry also in this note returns to the question of whether Vol 3 should
be talking about competition (his story #2). There are definitely different
stories. Maybe they come from two different people--- note my examples
from Heinrich's article yesterday. This is why I asked about the first

> Yet, of course, issues remain. For instance, the meaning of"competition"
> in V3. Marx seems to be giving us two stories here:
> Story #1: V3 concerns the "configuration of capital ... thus approach
> step by step the form in which they appear on the surface of society, in
> the actions of different capitals on one another, i.e. competition ...."
> In other words, competition is part of the story of V3 according to Story
> #1.
> Story #2: The subject of competition is to be developed elsewhere,
> perhaps in a later volume.
> These two stories suggest to me that he had a "story of competition"
> appropriate, he thought, for the subject matter of V3 and another "story
> of competition" related to further (as yet undeveloped) categories of
> concretion.
> Perhaps we could understand this question more if we had a discussion on
> the status of "competition" within the overall logical structure of V3.
> But, to return to your question, I still don't know why you think
> beginning V3 with cost price was problematic ... and I eagerly await
> enlightenment.

I hope my point in response to Fred yesterday about the relation of the
beginning of Vol 3 to the end of Vol 2 helps. I'd be interested to know what
you think about this.

in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C. Canada V5A 1S6
Office (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
Home: (604) 872-0494; Home fax (with warning): (604) 872-0485
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