[OPE-L:5332] Re: Capital, revenue and the TP

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Wed, 9 Jul 1997 15:34:01 -0700 (PDT)

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Eduardo wrote a long and thoughtful post [OPE-L:5331]. My initial reply
will be, in contrast, relatively brief.

> Jerry let me askyou the following questions: do you think that there can
> only occurs a temporary release of capital?


> Or you also acknowledege that
> capital can be "permenently" released from the reproduction process?


> If the capital which is released is retained within the reproduction
> process, what will be the consequence?

More money capital will be available for productive investment in c + v.
I.e. capital will be "freed up" for accumulation.

> If
> the capital which is released is converted into revenue (i.e., leaves the
> circuit of capital), what will be the consequence?

Unproductive consumption of capital will increase but accumulation will
not be increased.

> 2. The analysis of the phenomena of the release and tying-up of capital is
> related, according to Marx, with the reproduction process of capital.
> Therefore, it does not is DIRECTLY related with the transformation value
> into prices of production. In my opinion, this explains why Marx has dealt
> with this issue in Chapter 9 of vol 3 abstracting from the reproduction
> process. However, the release and tying-up of capital INDIRECTLY affect the
> trasformation process. <snip>

My point was indeed that the release and tying-up of capital is not
"directly" related to the transformation. It may indeed be "indirectly"
related to the transformation. But, I think it is an unnecessary
complication when addressing the issues posed in the TP debate.

> I agree with you that we should to discuss more the release and tying-up of
> capital issue and also, I think, the related issues of revaluation and
> devaluation of capital (which is important, in my opinion, for the thread
> on the depreciation which has been discussed in this list). But I do not
> understand your comment that you want to discuss that issue (perhaps)
> because it does not relate directly to the transformation. I am curious to
> why this is the case.

At the risk of being overly blunt, I think that Marxists have been
obsessively focused on the "transformation problem" during the last 100
years. This focus, it seems to me, has been a defensive reaction to the
attacks against Marx from Bohm-Bawerk forwards by non- (and -anti
and -neo) Marxists.

I guess I just don't feel that the transformation is the most burning
issue for Marxists to discuss at the close of the millennium.

On the other hand, as Marx explains when introducing the subject of the
"Revaluation and Devaluation of Capital: Release and Tying-Up of Capital"
in Volume 3, Chapter 6, Section 2: "The phenomena under investigation in
this chapter assume for their full development the credit system and
competition on the world market, the latter being the very basis and
living atmosphere of the capitalist mode of production" (Penguin ed., p.
205). Marx then adds, "these concrete forms of capitalist production,
however, can be comprehensively depicted only after the general nature of
capital is understood; it is therefore outside of the scope of this work
to present them -- they belong to a possible continuation" (Ibid). Yet,
while a further investigation of this subject as it relates to the credit
system, competition and the world market may lie outside of the scope of
_Capital_, they do not lie outside of *our* scope.

Yet, have there been any attempts to understand this subject beyond the
scope of _Capital_ and Marx?

In solidarity, Jerry