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Re-reading Marx - New Perspectives after the Critical Edition

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Fred Moseley, Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, USA - The developement of Marx's theory of the distribution of surplus-value in the manuscript of 1861-63

THE DEVELOPMENT OF MARX'S THEORY
OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF SURPLUS-VALUE
IN THE MANUSCRIPT OF 1861-63


by Fred Moseley
Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, USA
fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu
www.mtholyoke.edu/~fmoseley

It has been discovered in recent years that Marx wrote four drafts of Capital, not just two (the Grundrisse and Capital), as had been commonly thought. In between these two drafts, Marx wrote two other fairly complete drafts of all three volumes of Capital - the Manuscript of 1861-63 and the Manuscript of 1864-65, which have recently published for the first time in the new MEGA. This paper reviews the second draft of Capital in the Manuscript of 1861-63, in which Marx developed for the first time his theory of the distribution of the total surplus-value into individual parts (equal rates of profit, commercial profit, interest, and rent), which was later worked out in greater detail in the Manuscript of 1864-65, which was edited by Engels as the commonly known Volume 3 of Capital. Considerable textual evidence is presented to support the interpretation that the total amount of surplus-value is first determined in the theory of the production of surplus-value in Volume 1 (at the level of abstraction of capital in general) and then taken as given in the theory of the distribution of surplus-value in Volume 3 (at the level of abstraction of competition.