[OPE-L:3645] Re: Re: Re: Cost Price

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Fri Aug 11 2000 - 11:24:22 EDT

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What is it,
then, that serves this citizen as the standard of his profit? The cost of
the production of his commodities.
So Steve quotes Marx assuming the voice of a capitalist as proof that Marx
himself thinks profit is a cost of production which the bossman has borne?

Cost price may mean to you, Ajit and Marx's capitalist the lowest price a
capitalist will accept on the market. Indeed marginalism's market price or
the classicals' production price, natural price, supply price may be what
you both mean by cost price.

The point however is that it is not what Marx means by the term COST PRICE,
and in the context in which I used it there should have been no doubt about
the meaning for anyone who has troubled to read the first page of Capital.

Marx was always clear to differentiate a capitalist's costs from the costs
of the commodity--this is clear since you have yet to provide a single
passage in which Marx actually uses the concept cost price in the way Ajit
defined (nor have I been able to find Smith and Ricardo using the term cost
price at all). John remembers such a use in the TSV--I can't find the term
cost price being used that way there. There is no evidence to the contrary
that Marx only used cost price in the way I have mentioned. Wow! This
suggests quite a rigor and clarity in conceptual development. That Marx
seems to have been quite a serious guy.

 Already in the Grundrisse Marx wrote: "The capitalist's gain comes not
from selling the pound *too dear*--he sells it at its exact value--but from
selling it above the *costs of production*, *his* costs (not *the* costs,
for the 1/5 costs the worker surplus labour." p. 430 (emphasis Marx's)

"Costs of production" and "his costs" obviously become cost price by
Capital 3. "*The* costs" becomes the value of the commodity and (after the
transformation) the price of production. And if one fails to appreciate the
distinction, one is simply refusing to understand Marx.

The problem here is simple. Ajit wants only one set of unit prices in the
transformation problem--an assumption Sweezy, Duncan and almost all
entrants in the transformation sweepstakes accept, indicating again how the
Theory of Capitalist Development has basically fixed the understanding of
Marx's Capital--so unit cost price of inputs for him must be the same as
unit production price or unit natural price or unit supply price of the

Yet anyone who has troubled to understand Marx cannot be confused that the
cost price of a commodity is not its price of production or, to use Ajit's
classical language, cost of supply. Since Marx's equivalent of the the
classical concepts of natural price and supply price is obviously price of
production, why do you and Ajit think he then developed the other concept
cost price? As a synonym! Of course that's what you both think. And you
are both quite wrong, ok? And I suggest that you only read the first two
pages of Capital 3 to prove that to yourselves.


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