[OPE-L:3638] Re: Cost Price

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Thu Aug 10 2000 - 15:17:03 EDT

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>I hope to clear up a bit of the confusion
>concerning Marx's notion of cost price. If
>I'm not mistaken, Marx uses the term differently
>in Theories of Surplus Value than he does in
>Capital, V3. In the former work, it means
>price of production and clearly includes profit.

Can't find it, John. In TSV III, Marx critiques the capitalist point of
view because it takes elements of surplus value other than profit, i.e.,
rent and interest, as part of cost. That is, from the capitalist point of
view parts of the value product are understood as component parts thereof
or independent elements in the actual constitution of value. A product of
the process is turned into one of its preconditions.

But even from the capitalist point of view, industrial profit does not
enter into the constitution of industrial profit. Of course in the
secondary literature, it is Lipietz who has developed this part of Marx's
fetishism critique most brilliantly (see The Enchanted World) in terms of
his distinction between the esoteric and exoteric.

But even in this demonstration in TSV Marx does not introduce the term cost
price which is clearly defined in his volume 3 work.

It is sad that we cannot use the concepts Marx developed with care and
precision on even this list without giving a license to anyone to interpret
those terms as he sees fit.

For Ajit, the inputs which go into the cost price have to include the same
profit rate as the outputs so that the input unit prices would equal unit
output prices. Having to approach the problem this way is supposedly
forced upon us because Marx having left the input prices unspecified, left
us no other way forward but Sraffian simultaneism, however redundant that
may make value analysis.

 It is not that the exact term cost price even appears in Smith and Ricardo
(or Ajit would have surely cited it by now). He knew he was dealing with a
Marxian term but since he thinks this said identity must necessarily be
posited, he simply redefined cost price to be consistent with his
assumption of simultaneism which as you know Grossmann was the first to

Yours, Rakesh

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