[OPE-L:3528] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Marxism and 19th century materialism

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Thu Jun 22 2000 - 12:09:06 EDT

[ show plain text ]

Paul C wrote:

 This matrix has
>properties which include projecting out a vector associating a number
>- a labour value - with each product.

If the matrix is defined, then labor values are redundant for the
determination of relative prices and the average rate of profit. You are
simply sidestepping the question about the determinateness of the matrix
before the configuration of relative prices. I.e. the untenable assumption
of constant returns. You are ignoring the criticism of Jesus Albarracin in
Ricardo, Marx and Sraffa, eds. Mandel and Freeman.

>My assertion is that the matrix exists objectively and determines
>what the values are.

This is to treat the technical coefficients as givens as relative prices
are reconfigured by a change in the distribution of income (I am going
here by Meek's old review of Sraffa's book and Meek does not even mention
the problem here). I suggest this kind of transformation procedure makes no
sense at all, while the temporal, sequential, macro method of treating the
initial money sum of capital does make sense. And it does not make our
beloved labor theory of value redundant.

>Please clarify what passage you are refering to: I.e. which posting.

OK. Critique of POlitical Economy. INternational Publishers. 1970 Ed
Maurice Dobb, second full paragraph, p. 45

>Yes, I have been supporting Ajits argument that one should not include
>socially required as a stipulation. Unless you stick strictly to the definition
>of value as being determined in production all sorts of implications follow:

>1. As I said before you have no means of assigning values to means
     of production that are used internally but not sold by a firm.

Isn't the sv represented by these mp simply transferred by the firm to the
final product. If the final product is not sold, then why should value be
assigned to these mp? Where would have the value gone in case of
unsuccessful sale?

>2. You have no means of saying whether market price is above or below
> value.

Market prices are never production prices. This is cause and consequence of
the turbulence of capitalism, as the search for maximum profit engenders
BOTH capital movement towards equalisation of profit rate and capital
movement towards extra profit. The mistake of Eatwell (a hero of Ajit's and
yours I imagine) is to treat only profit rate equalisation which is but a
consequence of the fundamental drive for maximum profit as the dominant,
theoretically fundamental tendency in capitalism. Grossmann rejected such
an assumption in his dynamics book more than fifty years ago, Mandel also
spoke of the search for surplus profit. And he was correct to treat the
latter as the more important manifestation of the search for maximum profit
than the tendency towards equalisation of profit rates because it is this
which makes sense of the dynamism of capitalism which distinguishes it from
previous modes of production.

Understanding competition primarily as the means by which equalisation of
profit rates is achieved not only does great violence to the word
competition, it speaks to the infection of equilibrium thinking on
economics. At least, the other post Keynesian James Galbraith understands
the centrality of the drive for monopoly profit even if Eatwell does not
think its explanatorily fundamental.

At any rate, Marx's argument is that market prices are always above and
below value.

>3. You have no means of saying whether in particular a monopoly price
     is above its value.

I don't see why this is true.

>4. Going on from that, the theory of differential rent is put into question.


>5. If value is not determined in production but in exchange, then the
> theory of surplus value itself begins to look suspect.

Magnitude of value is determined by socially necessary labor needed to
re-produce a commodity.

>You are left with very little that is recognisably marxian political economy.

I recognize the work of John Weeks for example as marxian political
economy. And he is making the same argument about the point at which
commodities acquire value.

>I suggest that instead of using old Aristotelean categories like form,
>you ask yourself whether money might be an information structure.
>In this view, possession of tokens is just a particular way of recording
>information. Such information can be equally well recorded in ledgers
>or on computer disks. The material used to make money then only
>has relevance as a deterrent to forgery.

Money might be this in the society you and Allin have conceived. It is not
this in capitalism.

Yours, Rakesh

ps will not be able to respond for several days.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Jun 30 2000 - 00:00:04 EDT