[OPE-L:6233] RE: Marx and historical costs

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@CLASSIC.MSN.COM)
Fri, 27 Feb 98 05:09:49 UT

A reply to the PIAF:

From: owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu on behalf of Fred B. Moseley
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 1998 4:26 PM
To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
Subject: RE: Marx and historical costs

I had noted: "You've been using the "never any explicit statement in all of
Marx's writing" response to justify your interpretation against ours.

"Yet when we talked about the "revenue" issue, at one point you suddenly came
up with a "third" sense in which Marx uses the term. If there's "never any
explicit statement in all of Marx's writing that he is considering more than
one concept of the rate of profit," I'm also pretty sure there's "never any
explicit statement in all of Marx's writing that he is defining 'revenue' in a
third sense.

"So you can't use the "explicit statement" response. Therefore you can't
disqualify my multiple measures of profitability argument by saying that your
evidence is explicit and mine isn't. You'll have to deal with the logical and
conceptual issues, not only Marx's actual words."

Fred has now responded: "Andrew, these two cases are not comparable. In the
"revenue" case, Marx once explicitly defined revenue as the difference between
the price of output of one period and the costs of production in the next
period. In the "historical cost" case, Marx never explicitly said that, in
the case of technological change, constant capital is valued at historical

I'm afraid this response misses the point.

When faced with direct textual evidence that his interpretation of "revenue"
was at variance with Marx's actual concept, Fred came up with the response
that the passage in question defined revenue differently from other passages
in Marx's work. (I disagree.) However, there is, to my knowledge NO explicit
statement in all of Marx's writings that he in fact was "defining" revenue
differently at that point, or that he had a "third" definition of "revenue."

Thus -- and *this* was my point -- Fred was advancing an argument that Marx
made a certain distinction within a larger category even though Fred has found
no explicit statement from Marx which supported this argument. I have done
the same thing. When I have done it, but not when Fred himself has done it,
he has argued that the lack of an explicit supporting statement from Marx
disqualifies the argument.

This strikes me as inconsistent.

Andrew Kliman