[OPE-L:3933] Re: Re: Re: Re: m in Marx's theory

From: clyder (wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Oct 02 2000 - 05:17:56 EDT

> Paul, I think I see your point, but I wonder if you're missing mine.
> Suppose that under the conditions that you indicate, empirical or
> simulated, it turns out that either of the methods indicated in step (4)
> are consistent with aggregate labor value (of net or gross product) being
> "pretty close" to the corresponding aggregate money value, and aggregate
> surplus value being "pretty close" to aggregate profit, once the
> appropriate labor/money conversion factor is applied.
> Better yet, suppose we put aside the first aggregate altogether, and put
> aside as well the presumption that commodity prices are somehow dependent
> on or influenced by (in any socially causal sense) respective embodied
> labor values, but suppose it still turns out that, under the empirical or
> simulated conditions you indicate, aggregate profits are generally
> when the labor embodied in the wage bundle is less than the aggregate
> direct labor performed--which I imagine must be so, given that you're
> arguing for an even stronger, albeit similarly inexact, relationship.
> Then why do we care at all about the transformation problem, or Marx's
> asserted aggregate equalities, especially if the latter can only be
> by adopting arbitrary departures from Marx's stipulated method of value
> determination, and a (necessary but not arbitrary) departure from one of
> his aggregative claims?

I am of the opinion that the relationships described in both vol 1 and vol 3
of capital
exist only as approximate statistical tendencies. I agree that the exact
to the transformation problem is the century long trail of a red herring,
I don't thing that the transformation of values into prices of production
fully occurs. I think that values and prices of production are competing
for real price systems and that the actual price vector falls between the

However this does not mean that there is not a real process going on in
the way Marx described it. For instance for the UK, US and Greek economies I
that the industry by industry ratio of profits to wages is positively
with the organic composition of capital. The industry by industry rates of
profit are negatively correlated with the organic compositions of capital.
The former result is what one would predict from the value theory in vol 1
of capital the latter result from what one would predict if prices of
production operated.

Because the actuality seems somewhere between vol 1 and vol 3, and because
the actual deviations of prices of production from values is not great, I
think that
the method used by Marx is a perfectly reasonable approximation to a real
tendency to redistribute surplus in proportion to organic compositions.

What I am saying is that the delta that would arise from using embodied
labour to value the real wage bundle versus use of prices of production to
evaluate it is small relative to the uncertainty in our final measure so
it makes no difference which accounting system one uses for inputs.

Paul Cockshott

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