[OPE-L:5261] x+a = revenue

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Sat, 14 Jun 1997 11:18:10 -0700 (PDT)

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A reply to Fred's ope-l 4818.

Against Ted's and my work vindicating the internal consistency of Marx's
account of the transformation of commodity values into production prices, Fred
has argued that capitalist's revenue cannot exceed surplus-value. Marx, to
the contrary, writes:

"If the annual surplus-value on a capital C = x, for example, the cheapening
of those commodities that go into the consumption of the capitalist may bring
it about that x - a is sufficient to procure the same means of satisfactions,
etc. as before. A portion of the capitalist's revenue = a is thus set free
and can now serve either to expand his consumption or be transformed back into
capital (accumulation). Conversely, if x+a is required in order to continue
with the same mode of life, either this expenditure must be restricted or else
a portion of income = a that was previously accumulated must now be spent as
revenue" (Karl Marx, _Capital_, Vol. III, Ch. 6, section 2, fourth paragraph,
p. 206 of Vintage ed.).

This is conclusive proof that Fred's objection is wrong. Since

x+a > x

and since

x = surplus-value


x+a > surplus-value.

And since x+a "must now be spent as revenue" in order to maintain capitalist
consumption in the face of rising prices for the things they consume, then, if
capitalist consumption is maintained,

x+a = revenue

and therefore

revenue > surplus-value.

Because Fred's *interpretation* of the other passages concerning revenue that
he and I have discussed denies this possibility, while the author affirms it,
Fred's interpretation of those passages must be rejected. The above is
consonant with my interpretation of those passages.

The key methodological lessen to be learned is that statements Marx makes must
be understood in relation to the whole of his work, not read as
decontextualized "definitions."

Andrew Kliman