[OPE-L:3750] On the Unimportance of the Transformation Problem

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@acsu.buffalo.edu)
Date: Tue Sep 05 2000 - 09:39:49 EDT

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Given the explicit assumption of Capital, Volume One which also obtains
for most of Volumes Two and Three, I don't see the transformation problem
as important.

Wasn't it Shaikh who first referred to a 930rices of production as
reflective of values? Why not just take it as 100% and move on to other

I am open to being wrong on this, but many seem to assume the issue to be
important (perhaps merely because Marx addresses it?). I think Marx makes
the assumption to set aside an issue of lesser importance, an issue for
completeness but not for understanding the essential features of

Marx on his assumption:

    "The calculations given in the text are intended merely as
illustrations. We have in fact. assumed that prices = values. We shall,
however, see, in Book Ill., that even in the case of average prices the
assumption cannot be made in this very simple manner." (Chapter 9, fn. at
end of Section 1)

    "our assumption, that all commodities, including labour-power, are
bought and sold at their full value" (Chapter 12, third paragraph)

    "I assume (1) that commodities are sold at their value; (2) that the
price of labour-power rises occasionally above its value, but never sinks
below it." (Chapter 17, second paragraph)

    "On the one hand, then, we assume that the capitalist sells at their
value the commodities he has produced, without concerning ourselves either
about the new forms that capital assumes while in the sphere of
circulation, or about the concrete conditions of reproduction hidden under
these forms." (Part VII, The Accumulation of Capital, fourth paragraph)

Paul Z.

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