[OPE-L:2369] Re: Re: Chimps, owls and value-form theories

From: nicola taylor (nmtaylor@carmen.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Mon Feb 14 2000 - 17:00:57 EST

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At 10:07 14/02/00 -0000, you wrote:
>Niccola wrote:
> > I don't think that Marx, himself, was very far off a formulation of the
>> sort made by Michael (and Geert); but, I confess, it is very difficult for
>> me to appreciate Paul C's point of view. Because I don't really see the
>> point of it.
Paul replied:
>The point of it is to come up with a response to the objection by Von Mises
>and Hayek that rational economic calculation was impossible under a
>socialist economy.
>We have put forward a number of arguments against this, one being that
>modern computer technology makes handling large sparse I/of matrices
>comparatively tractable, another being that labour content provides an
>alternative unit of account to money, by which the costs of alternatives
>may be compared. We have thus been concerned to establish both
>the viability of calculation in terms of labour time, and also incidentally
>to argue against the Samuelson and Weizsacker proposition that socialist
>economies should use some modified form of prices of production.

Nicky responds:
Well I don't know if I'm a chimp (quite possibly!!), but the point I don't
follow is why anyone would want to establish an 'alternative unit of
account to money' or 'the viability of calculation in terms of labour
time'???: (1) with regards to the Austrians, didn't Oscar Lange already
prove your point, technically? (2) with regards to capitalism, is money
not necessarily the only objective measure of value, *under capitalism*?
Of course, I agree with you that Marx doesn't need to "transform" values
into prices, but this is because the figures in vol. 3 are already in
prices (i.e. the transformation you talk about is what Fred says it is, a
transformation from the analysis of capital in general to an analysis of
many capitals in competition). Do you disagree?

The main point is, of course, that I remain unconvinced of the usefulness
of Marx's "Capital" for understanding socialist economies; and unconvinced
by your argument that Capitalism can only be completely understood from the
vantage point of socialism. Is there any place in your theory for an
analysis of the specificities of 'capitalism' and 'socialism' as 'social

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