[OPE-L:4854] two questions re V3, Ch. 10

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Wed, 23 Apr 1997 21:04:13 -0700 (PDT)

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I have some questions re two, what I find to be, puzzling passages from
"The Equalization of the General Rate of Profit Chapter" in Volume 3:

I. The "mathematics" of class unity

Near the end of the chapter Marx writes:

"We thus have a mathematically exact demonstration of why the
capitalists, no matter how little love is lost among them in their
mutual competition, are nevertheless united by a real freemasonary
vis-a-vis the working class as a whole" (Penguin ed., p. 300).

Q: What and where is the "mathematically exact demonstration" to this
effect in this chapter (V3, Ch. 10)?

Q: If it is a "mathematically exact demonstration", then it should be
able to be expressed mathematically, right? Any takers?

Q: What assumptions are required for this "mathematically exact

II. "The special study on competition" and wage-labour

A couple of pages earlier Marx writes:

"This constant equalization of ever-renewed inequalities is
accomplished more quickly, (1) the more mobile capital is, i.e. the
more easily it can be transferred from one sphere and one place to
others; (2) the more rapidly labour-power can be moved from one
local point of production to another.

The first of these conditions implies completely free trade within
the society in question and the abolition of all monopolies other
than natural ones, i.e. those arising from the capitalist mode of
production itself. It also presupposes the development of the credit
system, which concentrates together the inorganic mass of available
social capital vis-a-vis the individual capitalist. It further
implies that the various sectors of production have been
subordinated to capitalists. This last is already contained in the
assumption that we are dealing with the transformation of values
into prices of production for all spheres of production that are
exploited in the capitalist manner; and yet this equalization comes
up against major obstacles if several substantial spheres of
production are pursued non-capitalistically (e.g. agriculture
by small peasant farmers), these spheres being interposed between
the capitalist enterprises and linked with them. A final
precondition is a high population density.

The second condition presupposes the abolition of all laws that
prevent workers from moving from one sphere of production to another
or from one local seat of production to any other. Indifference of
the worker to the content of his work. Greatest possible reduction
of work in all spheres of production to simple labour. Disappearance
of all prejudices of trade and craft among the workers. Finally and
especially, the subjugation of the worker to the capitalist mode of
production. Further details on this belong to the special study of
competition." (Ibid, p. 298)

Q: What does the above passage tell us about the possible contents of the
"special study on competition"? [Note that it is unclear from the
passage whether the last sentence refers to the subjects in the last
paragraph or the last two paragraphs].

[For those interested in other references to the possible book on
competition, see:

i) p. 205. Concerns the "full development of the credit system and
competition on the world market." Also relates to the
*revaluation and devaluation of capital; release and tying-up
of capital* (since the passage appears at the beginning of that
section) and *moral depreciation* (which is referred to later in
the section on p. 209);

ii) p. 342. "Reduction of wages below their value" in the chapter on
the "Counteracting Factors" to the tendency for the general rate
of profit to decline.

iii) p. 426. growth of "non-functioning or only semi-functioning
commercial capital"/"ease of entry into the retail trade, with
speculation and a surplus of unoccupied capital"].

Q: Why did Marx suggest that topics such as:

-- labor mobility (and laws relating to same);
-- "indifference of the worker to the content of his work";
-- reduction to simple labour;
-- "disappearance of all prejudices of trade and craft among the
-- "subjugation of the worker to the capitalist mode of production"

"belong in the special study of *competition*?

Q: What is the relation between the contents of Marx's planned book on
competition and his planned work on Wage-Labour (Book 3 in the

In solidarity, Jerry