[OPE-L:3681] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: cost-price

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Wed Aug 16 2000 - 08:51:21 EDT

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Oh well, everyone, please disregard the first couple lines of my offlist
message in which I had the crisis of faith which I am sure haunts everyone
right before the summer ends!

Now Ajit wrote:
>My point was that in the literature on history of economic thought the term
>"cost price" stands for a particular theory of value whose source is in adam
>smith's additive theory of value. The term is used in this sense by malthus and
>ricardo as well.

You know Ajit, I don't think this is true since Marx claims to be coining
the exact term cost price in TSVII. So I don't think Smith, Malthus or
Ricardo use the exact term. So please give the actual citations in the
classics. The history of economic thought to which you may be referring
here may well be a private one.

 The meaning of what you wanted to say can be
>very well expressed by the term "cost".

But you see I am not living in a private world. I used the term cost price
exactly the way Marx uses it in Capital 3. And it does indicate that for
Marx the constant and variable columns in his transformation tableau are
exactly what Fred says they are--sums of money laid out to purchase means
of production and hire workers. On a strong interpretation of what Marx
means by money price as the necessary form of appearance of value, Marx
simply could not have been referring here to the value of the means of
production but only to their money price. If Marx was not, then why did he
refer to the c+ v column as the cost price of the commodity? Have you
answered this point?

 By "cost price" one conflates the two
>concepts of cost and price, and the logical meaning of it, as the
>literature has
>accepted, turns out to be a theory of price that says that the "price" is
>determined by its "cost". The fact of the matter is that you did not respond to
>any of my substantive criticism, and created such a storm on a non-issue to
>simply divert the attention from my criticisms of your extremely contradictory
>and week positions.

First Marx is not arguing that price is determined by its cost. It is
determined by its cost price plus some equal share of unpaid labor. Marx is
moreover arguing that whatever the cost price was or unit prices were, they
will not be the same as the unit output prices in relative or absolute
terms due to the continuous revolutionisation in values, which is at the
heart of volume 3. I don't see where the circularity exactly is then
since, as Carchedi points out, Marx is positing some prices (inputs) in
order to arrive at other prices (outputs), while clarifying the process by
which the former is transformed into the latter.

You said you wanted to teach me, and I truly appreciate it. Please lay out
for me specifically where the circularity is in Marx's price theory.

All the best, Rakesh

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