[OPE-L:3950] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Transformation Problem

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Wed Oct 04 2000 - 14:08:26 EDT

In 3947 Paul C wrote:

>Note that the definition of value in vol 1 is done in abstraction from
>changes in technology over time.

False. From the beginning, Marx emphasizes that an increase in the 
amount of material wealth may correspond to a simultaneous fall in 
the magnitude of value; so, the same change in productivity which 
increases the fruitfulness of labor, and therefore the amount of use 
values produced by it, also brings about a reduction in the value of 
the increased total amount, if it cuts down the total amount of 
labour time necessary to produce the use values.

That is, from the beginning value theory is not enlisted to formalize 
Adam Smith's insights into hidden hand or to set up a delusive system 
of n millions of equations into which we need only introduce n 
millions of constants to calculate with mathematical accuracy the 
price of a definite individual commodity at any time.

Rather by holding the value of money constant, Marx can explore the 
working of the law of value as it appears in the general *development* 
of prices of commodities, in which the continuous depreciation in 
value of the commodities, effected by ever increasing productivity of 
labor consequent upon the accumulation of capital, constitutes the 
decisive factor. The final purpose of this of course is to reveal the 
economic law of motion of modern society and that means at the same 
the law of its historical development.

See Karl Korsch, Karl Marx, p. 153-4 and Grossmann's dynamics book. 

>In vol 1 a change in technology
>changes values, but there is not systematic treatment of
>the effect of a continuous rate of change of technology on
>the definition of commodity values.

This is what the whole chapter on relative surplus value is about. How else
could the rate of exploitation rise if real wages at the very least remain

>It strikes me as illegitimate to try and reconcile prices of production
>computed on a temporal basis with value defined on a non temporal

Value is never defined on a non temporal basis; it is only held 
constant for the purposes of simplifying the construction of the 
reproduction schema which are meant to show the possibility of growth 
without a permanent consumption deficit. 

I will parenethically note here that  even if Marx has failed here for the
reasons Paul Z has noted, then	all this means is that a scheme in constant
values cannot demonstrate  this possibility, not that capital accumulation
must be haunted by a  permanent inability to realize produced surplus value
(see Grossmann's critique of Luxemburg). 

Moreover, you do not respond to my post by cutting and answering, as 
Ajit has said we should. There I give you clear evidence that in 
Capital 3, ch 9 Marx does *not* assume constant values or prices of 

>Once you deal with continuous rates of change of labour productivity
>then you are stepping outside the theoretical space on which the original
>theory of value was based.

Not Marx's original theory of value.

Yours, Rakesh

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