[OPE-L:3753] RE: On the Unimportance of the Transformation Problem

From: Chai-on Lee (conlee@chonnam.ac.kr)
Date: Tue Sep 05 2000 - 12:52:06 EDT

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Dear all,

Paul would fall into a self-contradiction if he still finds any difference between total surplus value and total profit, and total value and total price while arguing "Let's get over the transformation problem". As far as we can ignore those who discriminate between value and price in every aspect, we can get over the transformation problem and move to much more significant subjects. They have been tying us for hundred years to such a trivial subject. I think Marx was right and we need not bother to derive labor-values from price data. Let us just assume the aggregate prices of constant capital elements to be identical to the value of constant capital and the aggregate prices of labor-powers as identical with the variable capital value. The debate is a time-wasting.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu [mailto:owner-ope-
l@galaxy.csuchico.edu]On Behalf Of Paul Zarembka
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2000 9:40 AM
To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
Subject: [OPE-L:3750] On the Unimportance of the Transformation Problem

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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