Re: [OPE] devaluation and revaluation of variable capital

Date: Tue Feb 19 2008 - 08:20:29 EST

I C what U mean, that is probably fair enough, but if, in a totality, everything is in a sense related to everything else, we do not yet have a "theory" of it.  Presumably the theory is a simpification which relates the most important variables at issue to each other. I find it difficult to see as yet how e.g. lower housing costs could directly reduce the amount of variable capital tied up.

Hi Jurriaan:

The connection between housing prices and the amount of variable capital tied up and released can only be theorized when we consider more concretely the role of competition and credit in the context of the world market. Note that Marx begins what became Volume 3, Ch. 6, Section 2 by explicitly stating this:

         "The phenomena under investigation in this chapter assume
          for their full development the credit system and
          competition on the world market, the latter being the
          very basis and living atmosphere of the capitalist mode
          of production. These concrete forms of capitalist
          production, however, can be comprehensively depicted
          only after the general nature of capital is understood;
          it is therefore beyond the scope of this work to present
          them - they belong to a possible continuation.

He then goes on to explicitly state _why_ he introduces the subject of the "revaluation and devaluation of capital; release and tying-up of capital" at this point:

          "Yet the phenomena listed in the title to this section
           can still be discussed here in broad lines. They are
           both inter-related and related to the rate and mass
           of profit. And this reason alone justifies a brief
           account of them, because they make it appear as if it
           is not only the rate of profit but also its mass (which
           is in fact identical with the mass of surplus-value)
           that can increase and decrease independently of surplus-
           value, whether of its mass or of its rate." (VIII,
           Penguin ed, 205)

The topic of the release and tying-up of capital was addressed
by (former OPE-L member) Eduardo Maldonado-Filho who saw in it
confirmation of a *temporalist* interpretation. In any event,
the relevance of the topic can most fully be appreciated when
we consider it more concretely in terms of "the very basis and
living atmosphere of the capitalist mode of production" (the
world market).

Yet, a comprehension of competition and credit on the world market presumes a more concrete and multi-sided grasp of the subjects of classes, the state, and trade.

When we consider the subjects of Landed Property and Wage-Labour (the subject matter of Books II-III in the 6-book-plan) more completely and non-one-sidedly we can see how landowners can cause housing costs to change and workers can take actions which can
both possibly change the price of working-class housing and demand and possibly succeed in changing their own wages and the costs customarily associated with the reproduction of labour-power. One can see this historically if one considers how workers have responded over time to an inflationary period which squeezes their standard of living.

In solidarity, Jerry
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