[OPE-L:2321] Fw: value form and m-c-m'

From: clyder (wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Feb 07 2000 - 07:07:53 EST

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----- Original Message -----
From: clyder <wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk>
To: <mike.williams@dmu.ac.uk>
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2000 10:24 AM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L:2263] value form and m-c-m'

> Paul
> > What puzzles me is why you think that there is anything to explain here.
> > It is only within Marx's problematic of exchange values being
> proportionate
> > to
> > labour content that there is anything to explain.
> Michael
> > I think not. An explanation is called for by any perspective that posits
> > labour as the sole source of new value
> Paul
> > If you dont start out from the
> > assumption that equal quantities of labour exchange with one another,
> where
> > is there a problem?
> Michael
> > If you do, you have the problem: what ontological commitment is involved
> in
> > the postulation of an homogenous substance ('labour') pre-existing and
> > determining systemic exchange
> Paul now replies
> But what does it mean to say that labour is the source of value if, at the
> same
> time, you hold that the exchange values of commodities are independent
> of their labour content.
> If you are dealing with micro-economics the postulate of labour being the
> source of value, is in these circumstances, vacuous.
> If you are dealing with macro-economics, then the existence of the
> profit, then the existence of profits can be quite adequately dealt with
> by a purely monetary examination of the national accounts a-la Kalecki,
> in which case the mention of labour is again redundant.
> Paul previously asked:
> How do you define rate of exploitation independently of money profits
> in that case?
> Michael replied
> You can *define* it in terms of the ratio of unpaid to paid labour, since
> labour is the only source valorisation, this must typically be > 0. You
> no doubt approximately *measure* it in terms of this ratio in some
> capitalist enterprise. But the only way it is in fact measured is as the
> (difference between money value-added and money wages)/money value-added.
> None of this is incompatible with the notion that unless capitals pump
> sufficient labour out of the labour power they have bought, they will not
> profitable.
> Paul now replies again
> Yes but the feasibility of defining the ratio of unpaid to paid labour
> depends
> upon the assumption of a proportionality between prices and labour values.
> what you have in money terms is the ratio
> w/p
> where w is money wages
> p is money profit
> To convert this into the ratio of unpaid to paid labour you need the
> contents
> of the goods upon which wages and profits are spent. Assume that the
> are
> divided into new investment and capitalist consumption, excluding for now
> all consideration of taxes on profits. We need
> v = labour required to produce workers consumption goods
> I = labour required to produce the new investment goods upon which
> part of profits are spent
> cc = labour required to produce the capitalists consumption goods
> You are implicitly assuming either an equality or at least a strong
> correlation
> of the form
> w/p = v/(I+cc)
> This is clearly met if in general prices are proportional to labour
> but, in principle could be met by a weaker constraint on the aggregates of
> the wage goods, capitalist consumption goods, and investment goods.
> Have you discovered some general property of the economy that enforces
> this weaker constraint. If you have not, then you are still implicitly
> assuming
> the labour theory of exchange values.

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