Re: [OPE-L] Grundrisse. Help

From: Michael Perelman (michael@ECST.CSUCHICO.EDU)
Date: Tue Aug 01 2006 - 12:03:48 EDT

I've tried to make the case that the impetus for this work was the cotton famine and
that Thomas Hodgkin was of great help in this effort.

On Tue, Aug 01, 2006 at 11:35:56AM -0400, Fred Moseley wrote:
> Hi Rakesh, I have not been following this thread, but I did happen to
> notice your message on the reproduction schemes.  I have not read Kuhn's
> article either, but I think there is a misunderstanding.
> Marx first worked on the reproduction schemes in the Manuscript of
> 1861-63, in the section on the Theories of Surplus-value on Smith (Chapter
> 10).  The purpose of this discussion was to criticize what Marx called
> "Smith's dogma", according to which the total price of the total commodity
> product of the economy as a whole is "entirely resolved into revenue",
> i.e. into wages + profit + rent, so that there is no separate component
> for constant capital.  Marx's later work on the reproduction schemes show
> that "Smith dogma" is incorrect - i.e. that the total price of the total
> commodity product does indeed include a separate component for constant
> capital, and Marx's analysis of reproduction shows how this constant
> capital is recovered and reinvested in the two departments.
> Please see Marx's letter to Engels of 6 July 1863, shortly after finishing
> the Manuscript of 1861-63, in which Marx explains the reproduction schemes
> to Engels, and clearly indicates that the purpose is to critique "Smith's
> dogma".
> The critique of "Smith's dogma" continued to be the main purpose of Marx's
> drafts of Part 3 of Volume 2 in the Manuscript of 1864-65 and in
> Manuscript of 1870.  Chapter 19 on "previous discussions of the subject"
> has four pages on the Physiocrats (most of which is actually about Smith)
> and 27 pages on Smith, which is mainly about his "dogma".  There is
> nothing about Sismondi.
> I discuss this purpose of Marx's reproduction schemes at length in my
> "Marx's Reproduction Schemes and Smith's Dogma", in Arthur (ed.)
> The Circulation of Capital:  Essays on Volume 2 of Capital.
> The Marxist tradition has somehow overlooked this original and main
> purpose of Marx's reproduction schemes, and interpreted these schemes as a
> theory of the dynamics of capitalism.  Almost all of the discussion
> (including Grossman's I believe; please correct me if I am wrong) has been
> about Chapter 21 on Expanded Reproduction.  But this chapter was written
> very late in Marx's life, in 1878, in Marx's last manuscript on Volume 2.
> I think this subject became interesting and important to Marx over the
> years as he worked on the reproduction schemes, and as he began to realize
> that the replacement of fixed constant capital was an important source of
> instability in capitalism.  But the main purpose of the reproduction
> schemes continued to be the critique of "Smith's dogma.
> And I don't see anything in any of Marx's discussions of the reproduction
> schemes about "how surplus-value can be measured independent of its forms"
> (as you and Kuhn suggest).  I will try to read Kuhn's article soon.  In
> the meantime please send me a few key references from Part 3 where Marx
> discusses this subject.
> Thanks.
> Comradely,
> Fred
> P.S.  I don't know of any analysis of the reproduction schemes in the
> Grundrisse.  Again, please send references.  Thanks again.

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 530-898-5321
E-Mail michael at

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