[OPE-L:1377] Determination of Value, 4

From: Andrew_Kliman (Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com)
Date: Thu Sep 30 1999 - 12:50:24 EDT

4. The 1857-58 and 1861-63 Manuscripts

A good deal of textual evidence addresses this question in a more
direct fashion. All of it seems to me to support the temporal
interpretation. First, at least from the 1857-58 economic
manuscripts (Grundrisse) onward, Marx argued that production
results in "the preservation of the amount of labour already
objectified" in used means of production (Marx 1986:288), and
"thus preserves the previously existing value of the capital"
(Marx 1986:290). The previously existing value "reappears" in the
product (Marx 1986:282).

His subsequent economic works, including the chapter on "Constant
Capital and Variable Capital" in Capital I that develops this
notion systematically, likewise often refer to the preservation
and reappearance (and synonymously, the transfer) of the existing
value. Such terminology is explicitly temporal. It suggests that a
sum of value, already in existence before production, emerges from
production unchanged. I do not see how this can be reconciled with
the replacement cost concept, which denies that the value
transferred depends on the value of inputs when they entered

Many passages in the economic manuscript of 1861-63, almost of
them from the earlier notebooks (I through VII) state explicitly
that inputs' pre-production value does determine the value they
transfer. "The value of the material and means of labour only
re-appears in the product because the material and means of labour
possess this value *before* the labour process and independently
of it" (Marx 1988:92). Raw materials and means of labor "add to
the labour time contained in the product only as much labour time
as they themselves contained *before* the production process"
(Marx 1988:177). The consumption of means of production increases
the product's value by "the amount of its own value"; Marx further
specifies that this means, "to be precise, the value it has when
it enters the process of production" (Marx 1988:322-23). A means
of production "does not add more value to the product than it
possessed before production. [...] As value, this part of capital
therefore enters unchanged into the production process and emerges
from it unchanged" (Marx 1989:362).

Although these statements are unambiguous in identifying the
pre-production value of inputs as that which determines the
magnitude of value transferred, none of them treats the issue in
the context of a possible change in the input's value during the
course of production. At least two passages do address this issue,
however. In one, Marx (1988:79-80) argues that "the values of
material and means of labour only re-appear in the product of the
labour process to the extent that they [...] were values before
they entered into the process." Although their values can change
during the course of the process, this "involves absolutely no
alteration in the circumstance that in the labour process into
which they enter as material and means they are always preposited
as given values, values of a definite magnitude. For in this
process itself they only emerge as values in so far as they
entered as values" (Marx 1988:79-80).

In the other passage, Marx (1988:413) argues that a change in the
value of constant capital "never alters the fact that in the
process of production, into which it enters as a condition of
production, it is a postulated value which must reappear in the
value of the product. [...] it is a definite quantity of *past,
objectified* labour, which passes into the value of the product
as a determining factor." As was discussed earlier, were the
value transferred from constant capital to depend on the
replacement cost of its material elements, it would not be a
determining factor of the product's value, but a magnitude
determined simultaneously with it.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Feb 27 2000 - 15:27:10 EST