[OPE-L:4143] Re: extending [completing, developing, deepening] Marx

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 4 Feb 1997 20:12:09 -0800 (PST)

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Re Steve K's [OPE-L:4141]:

That must be your favorite Marx quote!

To begin with, recall that it comes from Ch. 25, Part 1 -- "A Growing
Demand for Labour-Power Accompanies Accumulation *if the composition of
capital remains the same*" (emphasis added). Yet, since my question
(reproduced below) concerned the trade cycle, there is every reason to
believe that the composition of capital should *not* be constant.

The other aspect of the question that I raised concerned the relation of
the turnover time of fixed capital (including moral depreciation) to the
trade cycle, the LTGRPD, credit, and crises. The quote that you
reproduced does not deal with these issues. Nor would we expect it
to given the level of abstraction of VI since these other issues are
addressed at later, more concrete, stages of the analysis.

I am not suggesting that variations in the demand for labour-power have
no role in understanding the trade cycle or capitalist crises. Rather, I
am suggesting that we need to relate changes in the turnover time of
constant fixed capital to the trade cycle and other aspects of capitalist

Lastly, you suggest that the trade cycle can be explained without
reference to the "LTV". That may or may not be the case. What is clear is
that Marx considered value to be essential to understanding the dynamics
of capitalism. Of course, we can disagree with Marx -- as many others
have. Although the Goodwin model is more mathematically sophisticated, I
continue to believe that Marx's understanding of the process of
capitalist dynamics was much richer.

In solidarity, Jerry

Jerry (previous):
>* If, for example, we consider Marx's theory of crisis, where is his
> theory of the trade cycle? Not a small question -- I think you would
> agree. We know that Marx considered the turnover time of fixed capital
> to be "one of the material foundations for the periodic cycle" (V2,
> Penguin ed., p. 264), but the only part of V3, Ch. 4 on "The Effect of
> the Turnover on the Rate of Profit" that Marx wrote was the title of
> the chapter! Furthermore, where is his explanation of the relation of
> the LTGRPD, credit, and the turnover of fixed capital to the trade
> cycle? These are very significant "gaps" indeed. [NB: In our
> discussions of "moral depreciation", no one has yet attempted to
> connect this issue -- as Marx suggested -- to the "periodic cycle"].
Steve K:
> This has been developed by Goodwin (1967) in his predator-prey model of the
> trade cycle. It has been extended by many (including some on this list!).
> But it contains no reference to the LTV. And it is also quite clearly a
> beginning only, not a complete theory.