[OPE-L:1762] Re: value-form theories

Subject: [OPE-L:1762] Re: value-form theories
From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Mon Nov 29 1999 - 00:52:51 EST

This is a reply to Gerry, who wrote:

> Re Fred's [OPE-L:1732]:

>> <snip> Profit is a quantitative magnitude: the increment of
>> money that emerges at the end of the circulation of capital. The
>> question is: what determines this magnitude?

> Perhaps R/W understand the concept of *magnitude*, as a component part
> of a theory, somewhat differently than you do. In this connection, the
> order of the subject of "magnitude" in Hegel's _Science of Logic_ is
> noteworthy.

> In Book One on "The Doctrine of Being", "magnitude (quantity)" is
> developed in Section 2 and is preceded in Section 1 by "determinateness
> (quality)" and followed by Section 3 on "measure". I note this now
> because Andy and Nicky have stressed the role of Hegel's "Doctrine of
> Essence" in value-form theories. Within the framework of the _Science of
> Logic_, the "Doctrine of Essence" immediately follows the "Doctrine of
> Being" (the "Doctrine of Being" and the "Doctrine of Essence" together
> constitute Volume 1 of the _Science of Logic_ on "The Objective Logic";
> Volume 2 concerns "Subjective Logic or the Doctrine of the Notion").

> Am I barking up the wrong tree here?

> In solidarity, Jerry

I don't understand how R&W may have a different concept of magnitude,
perhaps based on Hegel. As I understand it, magnitude is a certain
quantity of a certain unit of measure (e.g. x hours of abstract,
homogenous labor). If there is a different possible meaning of magnitude,
then you (or someone else) will have to explain that to me.

In Marx's famous example of his quantitative theory of surplus-value in
Chapter 7 of vol. 1, the quantity of surplus-value produced by the average
worker per day is 3 shillings. According to Marx's theory this magnitude
of 3 sh. is determined by the following equation:

        S = m ( Lc - Ln)

where Lc and Ln are quantities of abstract labor (the current working day
and the necessary labor time, respectively) and m is the money value added
per hour of abstract labor. In Marx's example, Lc = 12 hr., Ln = 6 hr.,
and m = 0.5 sh. / hr. The surplus-value = 3 sh. is determined as the
product of the variables on the right-hand side of the equation. In order
to determine the magnitude of surplus-value, these RHS variables must
exist independently of the surplus-value. This is what is meant by
abstract labor as the "substance of value" (exists independently of and
determines price and surplus-value).

As we all know, Marx first assumed in Chapter 7 that Lc = 6 hr., in which
case s = 0 ("our capitalist stares in astonishment"). The magnitude of
surplus-value depends on the quantitative difference between Lc and Ln.
How can their be a labor theory of surplus-value without these quantities
of abstract labor as the "substance of value"?

I look forward to further discussion.


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