[OPE-L:3613] Re: Re: Re: Re: constant capital and variable capital

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Mon Aug 07 2000 - 17:49:39 EDT

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Gil wrote:

>4) In a capitalist world in which commodity prices are not necessarily
>proportional to values, it is nonetheless true that total commodity values
>= total commodity prices and total surplus value = total profit ( perhaps
>up to a common factor of conversion from dollar units to labor units).
>Let's consider these in reverse order. (4) is false unless yielded as a
>simple tautology by an otherwise arbitrary normalization procedure. Marx's
>"demonstration" of the result in Volume III is clearly invalid.


>contrast, the "new solution" guarantees the result by its normalization

I agree that Duncan's choice leaves me uneasy, though I read his recent
post (3587) as an argument for why he specifically holds the value added as
the same through his transformation. Moreover, Fred quotes Duncan
justifying why he holds the money wage as the same: "Workers in a
capitalist do not bargain for, or receive, a bundle of commodities as
payment for the labor power, they receive a sum of money, the mony wage,
which they are then free spend as they wish."
So Ducan seems to have good reasons for his normalisation conditions.
What's your beef with them?

 No other approach, alas including Fred's as far as I can tell,
>avoids the dilemma that the result is either a simple tautology or false in

Don't all scientific theories involve some tautology in their conceptual
development? Isn't Newton's mass defined tautologously? Darwin's natural
selection? Again, what is the real criticism behind this charge of

> More generally, it is more plausible to say that labor>values and prices
>are simultaneously determined--the problem being that
>labor values, unlike prices, are epiphenomenal.

But is it plausible to say that input unit prices and output unit prices
are determined simultaneously. If that is so, then revolutions in value
must happen between periods of production, which is a truly absurd
assumption though not exactly a tautology.

All the best, Rakesh

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