[OPE-L:4818] K-M's interpretation of revenue

fred moseley (fmoseley@laneta.apc.org)
Fri, 18 Apr 1997 22:12:40 -0700 (PDT)

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Andrew insists "for the third time" that I answer the following questions:

"Assume that total price equals $70; $20 of this is surplus-value.
Capitalists then advance $49 for means of production and labor-power.

"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?"

I have postponed answering these questions because I have tried to keep the
focus of our discussion on the transformation problem, and in particular on
K-M's interpretation of Marx's transformation. And Andrew has acknowledged
in (4700) that:

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.

So I will answer Andrew's questions, but I hope that we can return soon to
the original subject of our discussion: K-M's interpretation of Marx's
transformation, and my criticisms of this transformation.

"WHAT DID MARX CALL THIS DIFFERENCE ?" (the INTER-period difference between
the price of the product in one period and the capital advanced in the next
period; 70 - 49 = 21 in Andrew's example)

Answer: Nothing, that I know of. And he definitely did not call this
INTER-period difference revenue.

Surplus-value is defined by Marx as Andrew defines it - i.e. as the INTRA-
period difference between the price and the cost of the current period ($20
in Andrew's example). And, as I have demonstrated in previous posts,
revenue is defined by Marx as a PART of this surplus-value (i.e. a part of
this specific INTRA-period difference). Therefore, the INTER-period
difference (=21) that Andrew is asking about cannot possibly be Marx's
concept of revenue.

Andrew's implicit textual reference here (explicit in several earlier
posts) is Chapter 6 of Volume 3. In Marx's discussion in Chapter 6, the
change in the price of inputs from one period to the next does not alter
the magnitudes of surplus-value and revenues in Marx's examples.
Surplus-value and revenue continue to be the intra-period differences
defined above. Rather, Marx's point is that the change in the price of
inputs from one period to the next (e.g. a decline, as in Andrew's example)
means that a part of the previously existiug CAPITAL is now free to expand
production or consumption. The title of Section 2 of Chapter 6 is in part
"The Release and Tie-Up of CAPITAL." Using Andrew's example, the
difference between 50 and 49 is called by Marx "released CAPITAL." But the
difference between 70 and 49 is called nothing, which suggests that it is
not theoretically significant and not the subject of further analysis.


Answer: No, I guess not. But he didn't emphasize it either or even
discuss it, so far as I know.


Answer: Marx did not think it worthy of a name. It played no role in his
analysis of the release and tie-up of capital. And, most importantly, such
a concept played no role is his theory of the tranformation.

This last sentence is my main point. Even if Marx did give this
INTER-period difference a name somewhere, he did not call it revenue and,
most importantly, there is NOTHING like this inter-period difference in
Marx's theory of the transformation (including all of Marx's various
discussions of the transformation). And yet K-M's interpretation of Marx's
transformation depends crucially on this inter-period difference, which
they call "revenue". Therefore, I continue to argue that K-M's
multi-period interpretation of Marx's transformation is a misinterpretation.

I hope that Andrew will now be more willing to return to this and my other
criticisms of their interpretation of Marx's transformation.