[OPE-L:3339] Re: Re: Re: starting points [can surplus value be measured?]

From: Ajit Sinha (ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in)
Date: Thu May 25 2000 - 07:51:46 EDT

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Michael Perelman wrote:

> I have long been convinced that value cannot be precisely measured.


There are two issues involved here. (1) Whether the concept of value is a
quantitative concept, i.e. it is idealy measurable in principle, and (2) Whether
it is practically measurable in statistical sense. Now, my position is mainly
concerned with the first point. If value is not quantifiable in principle, then,
of course, Marx's concept of value and surplus value turn out to be nothing but
gebrish--there cannot be any escape from this conclusion. However, one can argue
that there are theoretical problems regarding reduction of skilled to unskilled
labor as well as quantifying depreciations in case of fixed capital. In this
case, all should at least agree that under the assumption that all labor is
unskilled labor and that there are no fixed capital, value as a quantitative
concept has no problem. Then one can think about solving the second order
problems. But to say that value is a "qualitative" concept and not a
"quantitative" concept is to practically declare most of Marx's *Capital*
gebrish. Cheers, ajit sinha

> I gave my clearerst analysis in "Marx, Devalorisation, and the Theory of
> Value." Cambridge Journal of Economics, 23: 6 (November): pp. 719-28.
> Also, earlier in Karl Marx's Crisis Theory: Labor, Scarcity and Fictitious
> Capital (New York: Praeger, 1987).
> 1993. "The Qualitative Side of Marx's Value Theory." Rethinking Marxism, Vol.
> 6, No. 1 (Spring): pp. 82-95.
> 1991. "The Phenomenology of Constant Capital and Fictitious Capital." Review
> of Radical Political Economy, Vol. 22, Nos. 2 & 3 (Summer and Fall): pp.
> 66-91.
> Besides the problem of objectively measuring abstract labor, the depreciation
> of long-lived constant capital is incapable of measurement unless you know in
> advance when that capital will be replaced.
> --
> Michael Perelman
> Economics Department
> California State University
> Chico, CA 95929
> Tel. 530-898-5321
> E-Mail michael@ecst.csuchico.edu

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