Re: [OPE-L] Capital in General

From: Fred Moseley (fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU)
Date: Fri Nov 04 2005 - 11:29:57 EST

On Mon, 24 Oct 2005, Paul Bullock wrote:

> Fred,
>  what I had tried to say was that the terms 'demand' and 'supply' ,  as
> your well known quotes show, are
> taken by marx as  terms used, and from a  vocabulary used by, non
> scientific, misleading and apologetic, forms of explanation. Marx does
> not need to use them for his own purposes. The first quote you provide
> establishes this, he shows that the idea of S=D is entirely misleading.
> Obviously Marx is always taking up the bourgeois ideas of the time ...
> but for us to confuse  'S=D'  with his theoretical assumption that there
> are no problems with realisation when he treats capital as whole,
> ccnfuses empiricist terminology, which has a completely different class
> interest and method, with marx's scientific vocabulary.
> Above you ask  'What is the difference?'... from the Ch 10 you quote we
> can see that the difference is that  for Marx ( p288 )..' The section of
> society whose responsibility it is under the division of labour to spend
> its labour on the production of these particular articles must receive
> an equivalent in social labour represented in those articles that
> satisfy its needs.  There is no necessary connection, however, but
> simply a fortuitous one  etc etc...'

Paul, I certainly agree that the connection between S and D is a
"fortuitous one" in the real world.  But I also argue that Marx assumed
S = D in his theory of the production and distribution of surplus-value.
For example, his theory of prices of production assumes equal rates of
profit, which in turn assumes S = D in all industries.

> This is the issue that Marx assumes not to present any problems  when
> eg he begins to deal eg with the reproduction schema. This assumption is
> not the same as S=D, of  Says use values and money exchanged for them.
> On p291 we find exactly this: '
> ' IF demand and supply cancel one another out, they cease to explain
> anything, have no effect on market value and leave us completely in the
> dark as to why this market value is expressed in precisely such a sum of
> money and no other.'

I agree with this, and it does not contradict my interpretation.  I agree
that when S = D, they cease to explain anything.  I am not arguing that S
and D explain anything.  Rather, I am arguing that Marx assumed S = D in
order to ignore their influences on market prices and explain prices of
production, the center of gravity of market prices (as part of a general
theory of the distribution of surplus-value).

Paul, I think we agree, don't we, that in Marx's theory of the
distribution of surplus-value in Volume 3, the total amount of
surplus-value is taken as a predetermined magnitude, as determined in the
Volume 1 theory of the production of surplus-value?


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