[OPE-L:2339] Re: RE: Fw: RE: value form and m-c-m'

From: clyder (wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Date: Thu Feb 10 2000 - 05:08:10 EST

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 the 'measure' of it.
> >
> Paul C
> > This is a misleading analogy, when talking about the value form we are
> > talking
> > about a mathematical function that maps from the set of unique
> > identifiers onto some set that is homomorphic with the natural numbers.
> Well, you may be. But this is not (all) that value-form theory is
> with.

I can quite see that you will have broader concerns than this. My point is
just that all theories of value are dealing with a subject matter that
numeric quatities being associated with commodities. The theories generally
attempt to say what determines these quantities. As you say ". Marx accepted
 the general gist of the Classical labour theory of value, and was
concerned to find a grounding for it under capitalism." This classical
which recieves its most consistent treatment in Ricardo, predicts that
values will be proportional to the labour required to produce things. From
it implies that equal quantities of labour are embodied in commodities
that are exchanged on the market.

It is from this that the problem of explaining surplus value arises. Why I
been pursuing you on this is that you seemed to reject the classical labour
theory of value whilst still seeing a 'problem' of explaining surplus value
which labour time is the answer.

My point is that the 'problem' is one generated by the problematic of
classical political economy. You seem to reject the basic postulate
of proportionality between prices and labour content, saying in an
earlier post that Value Form theory was essentially neutral between
Neoclassical and classical theories of price.

It now seems from this post, that you do not reject the classical
theory, in this post you seem to go along with Marx's acceptance
of classical political economies price theory.

> >
> > The question of whether it has a 'substance' is just childish
> l
> > point scoring which mistakes a metaphor in which a theory is expressed
> > for the serious logical content of the theory.
> That's a very scientific comment, comrade.

I agree, it is the bias of people working in the sciences to be intolerant
of such philosophical disputes over metaphors.

> > What I mean is that unless you have a postulate of proportionality
> > prices and labour values, then the statement that labour is a source
> > of exchange value has no real meaning.
> At the risk of being accused of more childish (albeit philosophical) word
> games, I suspect you and I would unpack 'real meaning' differently.

I would put a fairly straightforward Humean interpretation on it.

> > This still strikes me as a very weak theory since it depends upon the
> > hypothesis that labour is the only source of new value. All you are
> > is that if you have some defined quantity of labour L and if you have
> > some national income Y, and you map the national income onto the
> > labour by some function of the form
> >
> > L = kY
> >
> > then if profits form a portion of Y then a portion of L must correspond
> > to the profits and you then call this unpaid labour.
> >
> > Well, you could make L stand for Land instead of labour, then there
> > will be some 'unpaid land' corresponding to k(Y-r) where r is the
> > amount of rent in the national income.
> Again, see discussion of Marx's argument by elimination.

No, in Marx.s argument by elimination he is not dealing with national income
as a whole. In your exchange with Fred where you introduce the formula

which is equivalent to my formula above, you were. What I am saying is
that there is no necessity to invoke labour as a source of profit if your
problematic starts out at the level of the national economy as a whole,
at this point you have abstracted from exchange value - the national output
or if we are to ignore world trade, the global output has no exchange value.

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