[OPE-L:7193] [OPE-L:711] Re: Re: Market Values and Market Prices

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sat, 20 Mar 1999 07:01:51 -0500 (EST)

RE: Rakesh's [OPE-L:703] and John's [OPE-L:707]:

John gave his interpretation of a passage that Rakesh asked about (and
Michael P also answered in [706]). Here I comment on the first part
of John's comments:

> Rakesh wrote:
> Re fixed capital, I am having a tough time figuring out what Marx means
> here Capital 3 (Vintage pp 374)
> " The application of machinery reduces the price of the commodities
> produced with that machinery owing to various factors,which can always be
> reduced to the decline in [direct?rnb] labor absorbed by each individual
> commodity; but in addition to this there is the decline in the portion of
> value that goes into the individual commodity as the depreciation element
> of the machinery. The slower the machinery's depreciation, the more
> commodities it is distributed over, the more living labour it replaces
> before the day when its reproduction falls due. In both cases the quantity
> and value of the fixed constant capital are increased as against the
> variable."
> My comment: In the first sentence, Marx points out that the fixed
> capital to output ratio falls as machinery is used in processes of
> production.

John's comment concerns the last clause in the first sentence.

In that first sentence, though, Marx asserts *more* than that. I.e. he
asserts that the "application of machinery reduces the price of the
commodities produced with that machinery".

Why this must necessarily be the case (and indeed *whether* it will be
the case), Marx doesn't say here.

Instead, he says this is due to "various factors". Yet, all of these
"various factors" are unnamed in the passage. No wonder Rakesh was having
problems! What are these "various factors" that Marx is alluding to (and
what assumptions are being made here by Marx)?

In solidarity, Jerry