[OPE-L:6419] [OPE] Re: What is prior?

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Mon, 6 Apr 1998 02:13:38 -0400 (edt)

Alan wrote on Fri, 3 Apr:

> Fred [Mon, 30 Mar 1998 12:41:48 -0500 (EST)] writes:
> >Marx's theory is based on the methodological principle that the total
> >amount of surplus-value is determined prior to its distribution or
> >division into individual parts." <snip>
> I would thus modify Fred's presentation of the principle in two respects.
> First, the magnitude of value - not just surplus-value - is independent
> of distribution. Second, I use the word 'independent' instead of the
> words 'determined prior' because of the ambiguity of the word 'prior'.

I think I understand what Alan is suggesting, but I found it somewhat
surprising in one sense. To say that two variables are "independent" from
each other has meaning in a formal mathematical sense. However, the
expression "prior" not only has a logical meaning but a *temporal*
meaning. That is, if the quantity of one variable is determined "prior"
to another it also suggests that it was determined at a prior *time*.
Thus, if we look at M-C...P...C'-M' we can see that M and C exist "prior"
to C' and M'.

In solidarity, Jerry