[OPE-L:3953] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The TransformationProblem

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Wed Oct 04 2000 - 16:40:52 EDT

>On Wed, 4 Oct 2000, Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU) wrote:
>>  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...
>I guess you read Paul's first sentence but didn't pause to read
>the next.  Of course Marx talks about the effects of changes in
>labour productivity on values.  What he doesn't do is explore
>the implications of continuous technical change for the very
>definition of value (as the labour-time socially necessary for a
>commodity's production).

As I noted to Paul C soon after you cut me off here, then how do you 
make sense of the chapter on the production of relative surplus value 
which is nothing but a study of the implications of the declining 
unit value of wage goods, thereby allowing a rising rate of 
exploitation. If this is not an analysis in terms of a dynamic 
definition of value--that is, in terms of a continuous decline in the 
socially necessary labor time needed to reproduce wage goods--then 
what would be? What would have Marx had to have done to prove to you 
that for him value is an inherently temporal, dynamic category? He is 
shouting it on the first few pages, so obviously this is not enough 
for you. What more do you want? By the way, the chapter on relative 
surplus value is in the first volume.

>   That definition is unproblematic
>(unambiguous) if one is doing comparative statics -- figuring
>the value of a commodity "before" and "after" a discrete change
>in technology.  It needs more work in a context of continuous
>In the post to which Paul was replying you mention that I hadn't
>responded to an earlier one of yours.	True, but -- I hope this
>is not regarded as a "flame" -- you have a certain tendency to
>shoot from the hip without apparently investing much effort in
>understanding the opposed point of view, which can make extended
>debate a bit wearisome.

Allin, you don't even read my posts, so this is quite funny. Again 
you only responded to the very first few lines, and this one wasn't 
even that long.  I shoot from the hip? The powers of projection on 
this list never fail to astound me.

  You told me that Marx would have welcomed a solution in which by
assumption the input prices are set equal equal to the output prices. I
then  indicate passages in this same chapter on the transformation problem 
where it is clear Marx is making no assumption. So we have your 
textually unsubstantiated declaration versus textual 
counter-evidence--and you are accusing me of shooting from the hip? 
Paul then responded on your behalf, and completely ignored the 
pasages I cited.

My maths ability is very rusty. Right now I am working through Casti on
optimisation techniques, the fixed brouwer theorem, and other things and
Ian Stewart on knots, difference equations and the like, so I'll try to get
up to speed,though I'll probably always be relatively slow in comparison to
many of you here.

I also agree with you that I do not know Sraffa or neo Ricardianism 
(except say for now  that Meek review which Harcourt touts as still 
one of the best), but I have read Marx. You have accused Marx of 
making a logical (second order) error and proposed a way to solve it. 
On the basis of my careful reading of Marx (and a wealth of secondary 
material on Marx)--and this is a list for the discussion of Marx 
knowledge of whose writings I am willing to go toe-to-toe with you or 
Ajit or Paul or Gil or Steve --I have argued that he made no such 
logical error (indeed if he had had the inputs transformed in the 
second tableau he would have been making a serious logical error in 
terms of assuming the category of price of production before he had 
derived it properly) and that your proposed solution is inconsistent 
with his own aims.

Let me make a simple logical point--that the inputs have to be 
transformed into prices of production (remember we do agree on this) 
does not mean that they have to be transformed into the same set of 
prices of production as the outputs.

All the best, Rakesh

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