[OPE-L:3646] Re: Re: Re: Cost Price

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Fri Aug 11 2000 - 13:00:05 EDT

[ show plain text ]

I see that in Invsisible Leviathan, Murray EG Smith shares Grossmann's
objection against the conjoining of the scheme of simple reproduction with
the transformation tableaux. Grossmann's reasoning is not however
mentioned, though Yaffe did refer to it briefly.

That is, one must keep in mind Marx's method of successive approximations.
The reproduction schema have so many assumptions built into them which
depart from reality they should have never been used to analyze the course
of capitalist development. On the basis of those assumptions however
(exchange at value, constant value, annual turnover, etc.) Marx thought he
was able to show that capital can be a growing self enclosed system that is
not permanently haunted by underconsumption, not that the system will ever
be in equilibrium once we drop the assumptions and not that historically
capital has not derived support from non capitalist modes. It is a
demonstration of the possibility of capital as a growing totality, a
dynamic mode of production which is Marx's materialization of Hegel's
cultural historical totalities. That's it. The assumptions are needed for
cognitive tractability and should thus not be reified, to speak in
quasi-Kantian terms.

The simple repro scheme is much too abstract too cojoin with the
transformation tableaux which no longer accepts the assumptions of constant
value and exchange at value. To insist on constant value is to take Marx
back to a model more successively removed from reality.

And it's not that the transformation tableaux has finally approximated
reality either. For example, it assumes that no surplus value is deducted
from the mass for rent or interest payments and therefore does not adjust
the calculation for the average rate of industrial profit in terms of this
reduced mass. It is still not a realistic price theory. It is but an

What is puzzling here is that Sweezy embraces Grossmann's method of
successive approximations only to forget how he used it against
Bortkiewicz's reformulation of the transformation tableaux. Sweezy nowhere
cites Grossmann on the wert-preis problem. I think this has had terrible
consequences for the development of Marx's thought as Sweezy's formulations
are still accepted by many of the leading Marxist scholars today. I guess
this is a case of How Even Untenured Harvard Rules.

All the best, Rakesh

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Aug 31 2000 - 00:00:03 EDT