[OPE-L:4700] Revenue

andrew klima (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Wed, 9 Apr 1997 18:27:22 -0700 (PDT)

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A reply to Fred's OPE-L:4479.

Fred: "Andrew, for one who is always insisting that others acknowledge that
they are wrong and you are right about Marx ("explicitly, in print, " etc.),
you are not too generous yourself with such acknowledgements."

I do not "always insist" that anyone acknowledge that "they are wrong and I am
right about Marx." I have never insisted on such things, or even raised them.
I insist on the public, explicit correction of the historical record, so that
it reflects the fact that the alleged proofs of internal inconsistency in the
"quantitative" dimension of Marx's value theory (Bortkiewicz, Okishio, etc.)
have been demonstrated to be invalid. I also insist, as part of this, that it
be publicly and explicitly acknowledged that it has been TSS research that has
refuted the alleged proofs.

There is nothing *personal* in any of this. (That's why I don't really like
references to TSS (or other) work that identify it by authors' names, e.g.,
"K-M interpretation," rather than its content.) If, when citing the TSS
research which has disproved the allegations of internal inconsistency, one
were to omit reference to publications bearing my name, that would still
fulfill my demand. I would still doubt the intellectual integrity of anyone
who did this, but not as much as I doubt the intellectual integrity of those
who have been refusing to correct the historical record.

As for my alleged lack of "generosity" in acknowledging that I have been
"wrong ... about Marx," let me quote from Fred himself (ope-l 3533):

"I am glad to see that Andrew now seems to agree, as a result of the posts of
Jerry and Bruce, that the costs of unproductive labor (both circulation labor
and supervision labor) are not part of constant capital, but are instead must
be paid for out of a part of the surplus-value produced by productive labor.
I appreciate Andrew's integrity and willingness to say that he was incorrect."

When -- and if -- Fred succeeds in demonstrating that the category of
capitalist's revenue as it appears in McGlone and Kliman, 1996 (or Kliman and
McGlone 1988) "is completely different from Marx's concept of revenue" (Fred,
ope-l 4452), then I will be happy immediately to acknowledge that Fred has
been "right about Marx" and we have been wrong. I do not think he has yet
done so.

Fred's "conclusive demonstration that K-M's concept of 'revenue' is completely
different from Marx's concept of revenue" (ope-l 4452) rests implicitly on the
following illicit chain of reasoning: (a) Marx writes that revenue is part of
surplus-value, therefore (b) Marx *defines* revenue to be part of
surplus-value, therefore (c) the magnitude of revenue cannot be greater than
the magnitude of surplus-value; but (d) according to the concept of revenue
that we employed, the magnitude of revenue can be greater than the magnitude
of surplus-value, and therefore (e) the concept we employed "is completely
different from Marx's concept of revenue."

(a) and (d) are true. However, (b) does not follow from (a), and (c) does not
follow from (b). Therefore, (e) has not been demonstrated, conclusively or

I think it is obvious why (b) does not follow from (a). If I write "Fred is
not a Newsolutionist," that should not be taken to mean that "Fred" is
*defined* to mean "not a Newsolutionist." It may be less obvious that (c)
does not follow from (b). The reason is that there are *different* kinds of
definitions. So as not to get too technical about it, let me just give an
example. _Webster's 7th New Collegiate Dictionary_ *defines* "chair" as
follows: "1 a : a seat with four legs and a back for one person." Does this
mean that if I have a precious antique which I keep people from sitting on, it
is not a chair? Does it mean that if the seat part dropped out, it is not a
chair? Does it mean that if one leg has snapped off, it is not a chair? Does
it mean that a pentagonal seat with a back and five legs, meant for one person
to sit on, is not a chair? Does it mean that if two small children squeeze
onto the seat, it is not a chair?

Note that the last three questions all involve *magnitude*. Just as a chair
may have 3 or 5 legs instead of 4, and sit 2 people instead of 1, although
"chair" is defined to have 4 legs and sit 1, so too, the magnitude of revenue
may exceed the magnitude of surplus-value even *if* revenue had been defined
to be part of surplus-value (which I don't think is the case).

I note that this is just one instance of a general problem with Fred's method
of reading. He continually takes Marx's statements as definitions when they
are not (Engels issued an early warning against this procedure.) His paper at
the EEA says that capital is defined by Marx as money that makes more money,
surplus-value is defined as the increment of money, C and V are defined in
terms of money. If we take "money that makes more money" as a "definition" in
Fred's sense, then there could be no such thing as fixed capital. Nor would
capitalists have advanced capital if they wind up with less money at the end
than the sum with which they started. And we'd have a clear instance of
internal contradiction in Marx's work, since he tells us that the "more money"
is not made by the money, but by the pumping out of surplus labor from the
workers in the process of production.

Fred's ope-l 4479 declines to answer the questions I posed to him. He
justifies this by saying that my questions make sense "only within the context
of [my] interpretation of the transformation."

Yet my questions did not have anything to do with the transformation of values
into production prices. They concerned the possibility that the magnitude of
revenue can exceed the magnitude of surplus-value, irrespective of the cause
of this phenomenon:

"Assume that total price equals $70; $20 of this is surplus-value. Capitalists
then advance $49 for means of production and labor-power. Assume anything you
wish concerning physical output/input relations.

"What happens to the difference between the proceeds and the advances? What
would you call this difference? What did Marx call it? If he didn't have a
name for it, do you think that means he denied its existence? If not, is it
not appropriate to give it a name?"

Looking forward to Fred's answer

Andrew Kliman (AX)