**Next message:**P.J.Wells@open.ac.uk: "[OPE-L:2027] RE: Re: Aristotle's Economic Thought"**Previous message:**Gil Skillman: "[OPE-L:2025] Re: A possible paradox in the theory of value"**Messages sorted by:**[ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

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Mike W wrote

*> This assertion of Fred's:
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*>
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*> > 3. But Marx also argued that they key question in a theory of
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*> capitalism
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*> > is to explain the determination of the magnitude of the dM. This point
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*> is
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*> > stated very clearly in the following excerpt from the "Results"
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*> > manuscript:
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*>
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*> Is, I submit, not supported by this quote:
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*> >
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*> > The fact that the purpose of the process is that x should be
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*> > transformed into x + dx also POINTS TO THE PATH OUR OWN
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*> > INVESTIGATION SHOULD TAKE. The result must be expressed
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*> > as the FUNCTION OF A VARIABLE QUANTITY, or be transformed into
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*> > one during the process. As a given sum of money, x is a constant
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*> > from the outset and hence its increment = 0. In the course of the
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*> > process, therefore, it must be changed into another amount which
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*> > contains a variable element. OUR TASK IS IS TO DISCOVER THIS
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*> > COMPONENT AND AT THE SAME TIME TO IDENTIFY THE MEDIATIONS BY MEANS
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*> > OF WHICH A CONSTANT MAGNITUDE BECOMES A VARIABLE ONE.
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*> > (Capital, vol. 1, Vintage edition, p. 977; emphasis added).
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*>
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*> Rather, Marx says quite clearly here that the capitalist system must
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*> determine (throw up determinations of) the quantity of surplus-value
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*> (expressed in money). And that we (the investigators) must grasp the
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*> mediations by which this occurs. That doesn't speak one way or the other
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*> to
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*> the necessity for the theory to determine magnitudes - just that it must
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*> explain how such magnitudes are reproduced in the theoretical object -
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*> capitalism.
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*>
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I entirely agree that this is a reasonable *possible* interpretation

of Marx. But I suggest that on the face of it an *equally* possible

interpretation of "The result must be expressed as the function of a

variable quantity..." is what a modern (bur arguably naive) reader might

make of it: namely that Marx was precisely demanding a mathematical model

with quantitative consequences.

We know that Marx at least dabbled in maths: what stage were his

investigations at when the passage above was drafted? the "x + dx" stuff

suggests that he had begun his reflections on the calculus at the relevant

time -- in which case what reason is there for supposing that he did *not*

intend to demand a quantitative model (a demand which would, of course, not

exclude -- rather, include -- the interpretation Mike argues for)?

Julian

**Next message:**P.J.Wells@open.ac.uk: "[OPE-L:2027] RE: Re: Aristotle's Economic Thought"**Previous message:**Gil Skillman: "[OPE-L:2025] Re: A possible paradox in the theory of value"**Messages sorted by:**[ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

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