[OPE-L:3754] RE: On the Unimportance of the Transformation Problem

From: John Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Date: Tue Sep 05 2000 - 15:12:21 EDT

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Is the derivation from values to prices or prices to values?

At 01:52 AM 09/06/2000 +0900, you wrote:
>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.
>Paul Zarembka, editor, RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY at
>******************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

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