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>It's clear that Marx recognized the *need* to transform constant and
>variable capital from their "value-form" to their "price-form," as seen in
>the following passage from V. III, Ch. 9:
>"It was originally assumed that the cost price of a commodity equalled the
>*value* of the commodities consumed in its production. But for the buyer
>of a commodity, it is the price of production that constitutes its cost
>price and can thus enter into forming the price of another commodity. As
>the price of production of a commodity can diverge from its value, so the
>cost price of a commodity, in which the price of production of other
>commodities is involved, can also stand above or below the portion of its
>total value that is formed by the value of the means of production going
Gil, Marx is saying the exact opposite of what you and everybody else seems
to have said for one hundred years. Marx is talking about transforming FROM
the price form TO the value form, not visa versa.
Marx is arguing that the value transferred by these inputs is in actuality
NOT their cost prices. This is where I think even Fred (as well as
Alejandro Ramos in IJPE vol 28, no 4) gets Marx wrong.
Marx is not saying that when workers' living labor time consumes the use
value of the means of production, the labor time represented by their
monetary production prices is transferred to the value of the new
commodities (Alejandro). The constant capital that is transferred is
represented by the the value of the means of production, not their cost
price or price of production which after all includes a certain quantity of
unpaid labor that is independent of any particular sphere of production.
Workers are not transferring money but the actual dead labor (paid and
unpaid) embodied in the means of production.
So if a capitalist bought inputs which had a greater total value than their
price of production, then the value transferred to the final product is
determined by value, not price of production or cost price, though the
profit actually received is calculated on the latter basis.
So to the individual capitalist this is all a matter of indifference
because he does not claim profit on the basis both of the value transferred
as embodied in the means of production which he has purchased and the new
value produced in his particular sphere but in terms of the money he laid
out as determined by the cost price of the inputs. Jeez, Marx says so much
on the very page you are quoting.
In some some spheres more value is transferred than indicated by the cost
price of the inputs; in other spheres visa versa. Big deal! I don't see why
there has been so much confusion about this simple point of Marx's for a
The reason Marx does not go further into this correction for the individual
spheres of production is simply that the price-value discrepancies in terms
of inputs should simply cancel themselves out in the aggregate.
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