[OPE-L:6322] Re: Historical, real and current costs

Sat, 21 Mar 1998 01:21:49

Re the PIAF:

> Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 23:18:59 -0500 (est)
> From: Gerald Levy <glevy@pratt.edu>
> To: Multiple recipients of list <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
> Subject: [OPE-L] Re: Historical, real and current costs

Jerry writes:

> Yes, I believe that Andrews *example* implied a condition where the Sun
> created value. Of course I dont believe that Andrew believes that nature
> alone is the creator of value. That was not my point. Rather, my point was
> that the specification and assumptions of Andrews example led to a
> conclusion that was at odds with his interpretation of value and Marx.

Alejandro comments:

But Andrew has already clarified that his example doesn''t imply in
anyway that the Sun creates value.

Note that, actually, "Andrew''s example" is not Andrew''s but it is
in Marx''s Capital II, Chapter 13:

"For instance grape after being pressed must ferment awhile and then
rest for some time in order to reach a certain degree of perfection.
In many branches of industry the product must be pass through a
drying process, for instance in pottery, or to be exposed to certain
conditions in order to change its chemical properties, as for
instance in bleaching. Winter grain needs about nine months to
IS ALMOST ENTIREY SUSPENDED. In timber raising, after the sowing and
the incidental preliminary work are completed, the seed requires
about 100 years to be transformed into a finished product and during
all that time it stands in comparatively very little need of the
action of labour.
"In all these cases additional labour is drawn on only occasionally
during a large portion of the time of production...
"In all these cases therefore the production time of the advanced
capital consists of two periods: one period during which the capital
is engaged in the labour process and a second period during which its
form of existence --that of an unfinished product-- IS ABOANDONED TO

Capital II, pp. 238-9,
International Edition. Emphases added by caps.

So, "Andrew''s example" simply comes from the cases presented by
Marx. Andrew is not constructing a weird example or making silly
assumptions. On the other hand, I don''t think Marx maintains that the
above cases imply that "the Sun creates value" and that these
examples are "at odds" with his theory of value. Of course, we would
read what is his point about this.

> Putting the above in context, this objection on my part should come as no
> surprise to long-time listmembers. Indeed, we have had oft-stated and
> repeated discussions about methodology and assumptions (see especially the
> old threads on "assumptions, assumptions, assumptions" and "v=0").

I don''t remember this. Maybe it was before I came to the list. But I
don''t see what is the relation between the "assumptions" and the
distinction between working time and prodution time, which is the
point Andrew is dealing with, a point which is not an Andrew''s
"invention" but that it is in Capital II, Ch. 13.

> As you will recall, both Mike W and I were reacting to the same excerpt of
> Andrews post. Indeed Andrew is not silly -- but that does not prevent his
> examples/illustrations from the possibility of exhibiting perverse
> results and/or specifications.

Well, my questions are:

a) Do Marx''s above-quoted examples exhibit the "perverse results"
you attribute to Andrew''s example?

b) Do these Marx''s examples imply that "natural processes" create

Alejandro Ramos