[OPE-L:4015] The Transformation Non-Problem and the Non-Transformation Problem

From: Alejandro Ramos (aramos@btl.net)
Date: Sun Oct 08 2000 - 13:50:46 EDT

Re Lefteris #4013:

Some lines on this interesting Sunday exchange between you, Andrew K and
Paul Z.:

Andrew K:

>> Inputs and outputs are not distinguished by the nature of the good.  They
>> are distinguished functionally.


>This is O.K. but still are bought and sold in the same same market, which is
>the point that I made.

I think the idea is that the "functional distinction" also involves an
additional procedure: to attach a "time marker" to each variable. (This is
not usual en the traditional literature --e.g. Pasinetti-- and this is why
there might be some perplexity about it.)

So, for example, the "same market" you refer to is conceived as being
carried out at some specific point in time, let say, "t". Let's say also
that we have in that market "cotton" and "yarn", but these are not simply
"cotton" and "yarn"; they are, rather, "cotton vintage t" and "yarn vintage
t". In order to produce the "yarn vintage t", it *was consumed* "cotton",
but, clearly this was "cotton vintage t-1". It is actually impossible to
consume "cotton vintage t" to produce "yarn vintage t" because the
production process of yarn *requires time*, the elapsing of a real temporal
period. So, "cotton vintage t" *will be* the *input* of "yarn vintage t+1";
it cannot be the input of "yarn vintage t".

Therefore, if we pursue the "functional distinction" between inputs and
outputs in this line of reasoning, we will see that "inputs" should
*precede* temporally "outputs". In this sense, inputs and outputs are not
sold and bought in the "same market". Inputs were sold and bought in a
*previous" market, in a market which occurred in a preceding moment in
time. The inputs which are sold and bought in the current market (t) *will
be* consumed in the subsequent production period, t+1.

This also implies that the prices fixed in each moment of time cannot be
simply "equalized" or "temporally averaged" disregarding their differences.
In this way, this would be an attempt to shift the methodological
perspective in which the problem has been set from the traditional
"simultaneous system" and "equilibrium analysis" --probably inherited more
from Walras than from Marx-- to the use of a difference equations approach.
I think it's an interesting program of research.

Alejandro R.


P.S. Lefteris, I'm wondering which is your first and last name! Is
"Lefteris" the first name, as "Alejandro" is mine? More serious... it's
unclear to me if you're a man or a woman!!!

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