Subject: [OPE-L:1836] Re: Re: value-form theories
From: Fred B. Moseley (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Dec 04 1999 - 20:05:23 EST
This is a response to a part Jerry's (1762). Jerry, thanks a lot.
On Mon, 29 Nov 1999, Gerald Levy wrote:
> Thus, the question from R-W's perspective (as I understand it) is *not*
> > <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?
> Rather, the question concerns (again, from their perspective) the
> *grounding* of these concepts. It is thus not a question of math and
> magnitude, but of developing concepts adequate for comprehending
Jerry, Nicky was the one who first raised the question (which she called
"crucial") of whether the value-form theory can provide a quantitative
theory of surplus-value. My post was in response to Nicky's question,
answering in the negative. Others have also criticized value-form theory
for the same failure (e.g. Likitkijsomboon, Pichit, "Marxian Theories of
Value-Form". Review of Radical Political Economics, 1995 27(2): 73-105).
Jerry, you seem to be agreeing that, at least so far in their work, R&W
do not provide a quantitative theory of the magnitude of surplus-value.
Would you argue nonetheless, that their theory is CAPABLE of providing
such a quantitative theory, but just haven't done it yet. If so, then
would you (or someone) please sketch out for us how such a quantitative
theory of surplus-value could be developed on the basis of R&W's
value-form theory. And if not, would you not agree that this is a serious
shortcoming in a theory of capitalism?
For further clarification, what does it mean to "ground" the concept of
surplus-value, in a way that does not include an explanation of its
And what does it mean to "develop concepts adequate for comprehending
capitalism"? Can one have an adequate comprehension of capitalism without
an explanation of the magnitude of surplus-value?
This not just a matter of "math". Surplus-value is by its nature a
magnitude. If a theory cannot explain this magnitude, then one cannot
explain one of the essential features of surplus-value. Marx's theory
does provide a theory of the magnitude of surplus-value, and in this
sense, is superior to any other theory that cannot provide such an
I look forward to further discussion.
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