[OPE-L:5207] Re: Reproduction Costs vs. Replacement Costs

Duncan K. Foley (dkf2@columbia.edu)
Sat, 7 Jun 1997 06:48:16 -0700 (PDT)

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Part 3 of a response to Andrew's OPE-L:5179:

>(Andrew) also wrote:
>"(3) Torrens had written: 'The farmer ... expends one hundred quarters of
>corn in cultivating his fields, and obtains in return one hundred and twenty
>quarters. In this case, twenty quarters, being the excess of produce above
>expenditure, constitutes the farmer's profit ...' Marx objected that
>'*profit* ... is applicable solely to exchange-value,' and that 'As far as
>exchange-value is concerned, there is no need to explain further that the
>value of 90 quarters of corn can be equal to (or greater than) the value of
>100 quarters, that the value of 100 quarters can be greater than that of 120
>quarters, and that of 100 quarters greater than that of 500' TSV, 3, p. 77,
>pp. 78-79. How do you reconcile Marx's response with the replacement cost
>Duncan replied that Marx was "trying to illuminate the point that profit,
>as a
>value category, is
>not coextensive with the physical surplus in production"; that "I haven't
>looked this up in context, but as written it seems incoherent. It seems to
>need some stipulation about the time at which the comparisons are being made.
>In the Torrens example the production period intervenes; and that "Since the
>quote isn't very clear to me, I don't see necessarily that it's
>in conflict with the replacement cost interpretation."
>Please do look it up, so you can see the whole context, which is very

I did look it up, and as far as I can see the passage is directed entirely
at the issue of the distinction between the physical surplus of production
and the concept of profit and surplus value, which are value concepts. I
don't see any inconsistency between these remarks and the position of the
New Interpretation, which emphasizes that profit and surplus value are
monetary (that is, value) phenomena.


Duncan K. Foley
Department of Economics
Barnard College
New York, NY 10027
fax: (212)-854-8947
e-mail: dkf2@columbia.edu