[OPE-L:3940] validity of Ricardian law of value

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Mon Oct 02 2000 - 14:42:15 EDT

re 3937

Rakesh writes, in part,
>one does not need such a labor theory of value to
>argue against the injustice of profit income or the human unfreedom
>implicit in private ownership of the means of production, Ajit and
>Gil both seem to be saying as they reduce Marx's basic critique of
>political economy and theory of surplus value to ethics
>It's news to me that I do this, though of course Marx' s critique
>necessarily contains a normative component (else in what sense is it a
>"critique"--of esthetics, perhaps?).  My point is just that you don't need

>a labor theory of value, understood as a notion that commodity prices are
>somehow "regulated" by underlying labor values, in order to advance Marx's

>critique, and in some cases reliance on labor value theory is
>counterproductive.  Gil

I know still know I owe you a reply about the implications of 
increasing returns for the labor theory of value, but I still don't 
enough to reply to your challenge, much less understand it.

Marx only grants the approximate validity of the Ricardian law of 
value in understanding the changes in relative prices over time due 
to technical change. Since the average rate of profit is formed and 
changes only slowly, it's a good approximation to relate changing 
relative prices to underlying changes in values.

So in terms of Paul C and Allin's claims, Marx is not saying that 
price in any snapshot of time is determined by value (there's that 
mediation of the average rate of profit after all) but rather that 
changes in relative prices over time can on good approximation be 
accounted for by changes in the underlying values of the commodities 
in their natural units.

Marx says so much in Capital 3 and TSVII.

Of course even this becomes difficult to assess if the commodity 
itself is changing over time with its price, e.g., pc's.

As for the meaning of critique, Marx may have a specific meaning of 
it in mind if one agrees with Patrick Murray on marx's conception 
being derived from and developed out of Kant and Hegel. As to the debate
over Marxian ethics, it's been quite a while since I read Wood, Buchanan,
Rubel and others on this. I share the same disinclination to emphasize
ethics that Korsch expressed when thinking over Rubel's impressive work. 

all the best, rakesh

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Oct 31 2000 - 00:00:07 EST