Re: [OPE-L] questions on the interpretation of labour values -- clarification

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Sun Feb 25 2007 - 12:20:25 EST

Hi again Fred,

To clarify.  I see that you have not said M-C-M' simply, but M . . . C . . .
P . . . . C' . . . M' and describe this as the circuit of money capital.  So
production  is included.  I suppose this makes my assertion that it is a
phenomenon of circulation not accurate.  It provides the analytical
framework for the circuit of money capital.  Is that adequate for
understanding the analytical framework of capital itself?


----- Original Message -----
From: "Howard Engelskirchen" <howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM>
Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2007 12:05 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] questions on the interpretation of labour values

> Hi Fred,
> I have a worry somewhat independent of the issues you raise with Diego.
> We already jousted about this during the summer.
> You refer to Marx's "analytical framework" as being M - C - M'.
> M - C - M' is a phenomenon of circulation.  It is implausible to me that
> either the logic of capital or the framework for its analysis is  provided
> by circulation.
> I'm interested in your reference to the logic of capital.  Have you said
> below that the logic of capital, as you use the term, is the same in
> I as in volume III?
> Howard
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Pen-L Fred Moseley" <fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU>
> Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2007 10:28 AM
> Subject: Re: [OPE-L] questions on the interpretation of labour values
> Quoting Diego Guerrero <diego.guerrero@CPS.UCM.ES>:
> > In my opinion, values and market prices determine each other mutually.
> > Values are created by labour but the value of a commodity includes the
> > MARKET price of the inputs. As Rakesh said in his last message, Marx has
> > been misread also in this point. In
> > <> I
> > argue that the inputs have to be valued at market prices (m), not at
> values
> > (w) or production prices (p)--I thus disagree with Alejandro Ramos and
> Fred
> > Moseley too. In Capital I and II, Marx is assuming that m = w, and in
> > Capital III, that m = p, but this is only the first assumption in
> analysis.
> > As a general theory it should be assumed that m = m, different from both
> > and p. One can find in Marx's texts a fondation for this. The reason is
> that
> > he is (and we should be) interested in the process of creation of NEW
> > values, and he says explicitly that for this we can and must abstract
> > the values that come from other places, like in the case of the chemist:
> Hi Diego,
> This is a very interesting paragraph, which discusses two different
> questions.  These two questions are related, but I think we need to
> distinguish between them more clearly:
> 1.  What was the logic of Marx's theory in the three volumes of Capital?
> 2.  How should we extend Marx's theory to a more general theory, which
> includes market prices?
> With respect to the first question, you seem to agree that Volume 3 of
> Capital is about the determination of prices of production, and that
> this theory assumes that the prices of the inputs are prices of
> production.  That is, when you say that the inputs for the
> determination of prices of production should be the market prices of
> the inputs, you mean that this is your suggested generalization of
> Marx's theory in Capital to include market prices, not your
> interpretation of what Marx did in Volume 3; right?
> Do I understand you correctly?
> Is so, then it seems to me (based on our previous private email
> discussions last Spring) that we are in substantial agreement about
> Marx's logic in Capital.  The main points of agreement between us would
> seem to be:
> 1.  The circulation of money capital (M - C . P . C' - M') is the basic
> analytical framework of Marx's theory.
> 2.  This analytical framework suggests that the M at the beginning of
> the circulation of money capital is TAKEN AS GIVEN, as the money
> capital advanced to purchase means of production and labor-power.  And
> the crucial point is that the SAME M is taken as given in the
> determination of both value in Volume 1 and prices of production in
> Volume 3.  Thus there can be no question of Marx "failing to transform
> the inputs" of constant capital and variable capital from values to
> prices of production. This initial given M is eventually explained as
> equal to the prices of production of the means of production and means
> of subsistence.
> 3.  The total surplus-value and the general rate of profit are
> DETERMINED PRIOR to prices of production; in other words, Marx's theory
> is based on a logic of SEQUENTIAL determination, not simultaneous
> determination.
> 4.  Both of Marx's two aggregate equalities are always true
> 5.  Constant capital is valued at current costs (at the time the
> products are sold), not at historical costs.
> To what extent do you agree with these points about Marx's logic in
> You seem to emphasize much more the second question in your recent
> paper (and I think more generally in your recent work).  I agree that
> this is an important question, and I would be happy to discuss it.  I
> think there will be more disagreement about this second question.
> But I think it is also important to emphasize that, within Marx's
> analytical framework of Capital (essentially excluding market prices
> and stopping in Volume 3 with prices of production), his logic is
> correct, not flawed and inconsistent.  The Bortkiewicz criticism is
> wrong, because it is based on a misunderstanding of Marx's logic in
> Capital.
> So I think we need to distinguish more clearly between these two
> questions.  I realize this more clearly now than I did in our previous
> discussions.
> Comradely,
> Fred
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
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