[OPE-L:7167] [OPE-L:675] Re: Market Values and Market Prices

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Mon, 15 Mar 1999 07:56:33 -0500 (EST)

Response to John's [OPE-L:673]:

I had previously suggested the following formula for the aggregate

> surplus value
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> constant fixed capital + constant circulating capital + variable capital

Then John objected arguing that the above didn't take into account the
stratification of fixed capital.

Yes, I agree that a more concrete representation of the process would

a) stratification of constant fixed capital by age (the usual measure);

b) stratification of constant fixed capital by quality (this would take
into account different "vintages");

(this would entail some specification of the notion of "choice
of technique")

c) specify, at least for accounting purposes, a projected rate of

(the projected rate of depreciation should take b) into account, even
though forced obsolescence and "moral depreciation" can't be
accurately accounted for in advance)

d) show differences in capital composition for each firm.

e) show transfers of surplus value among capitalists following the sale of
the commodity product.

(a useful, initial, simplifying assumption here might be to assume that
the commodity product is sold at one moment in time. The "end of the
period" would seem to me to be the most logical approximation).

In principle, the above could be done. It would involve some more
complicated math, to be sure.

I don't see a)-d) as that complicated (conceptually).

I realize that you have given a lot of thought to c) and have discussed
different forms of depreciation accounting on this list before.

But, In my opinion, the hardest, and perhaps most vital, part of
the above procedure would be to show e). That pre-supposes, of course,
that the transfer of surplus value among capitalists is a key part of
the accumulation process. I must say that I've never seen a satisfactory
treatment of that issue.

However, I want to return to the question of where (at what level of
abstraction) this topic should be addressed.

Do you agree with the following statement by Fred (from [648])?

> The aggregate magnitudes are determined at the level of analysis of
> capital in general and remain invariant as we move to more concrete
> levels.

This is crucial *if* what we are talking about is the *redistribution* of
surplus value during the accumulation process.

Perhaps we need to be addressing the above, then, more as a component part
of "competition" than "capital in general".

In solidarity, Jerry