[OPE-L:4056] Re: Revaluation

From: Andrew_Kliman (Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com)
Date: Thu Oct 12 2000 - 09:13:15 EDT

Marx held that previously existing stocks are revalued in accordance with
the labor-time socially necessary to reproduce them.  In OPE-L 4049,
Alejandro Ramos referred to the interpretation of this notion in which
Marx is construed as having said that

"the actual expenditure of social human labor time carried out in the
production of *inputs* is irrelevant for the determination of commodity
value; in other words, that the distinction between past and living labor
has no real meaning because there would be a retroactive revaluation of
*constant capital*, which of course is not the same that the revaluation
of existing stocks of commodities."

I agree that this is a misinterpretation.  Inputs and stocks are two
different things.  Inputs are things that have been used up, no longer
exist, whereas stocks are still in existence.

Then Ale asked:  "Do you know who was the first author who presented this
argument by means those passages? My early references are Morishima
(1973) who quotes Okishio (in Japanese), and Brody (1974). I haven't been
able to find this interpretation in authors such Meek or Sweezy."

It is always dangerous to say who was first.  We saw that with the
allegation that Marx "forgot" to "transform" the inputs in _Capital_ III,
9.  Everyone thought it was Bortkiewicz, then you discovered Komorzynski,
and in a different way Muelpfordt lodged that critique even earlier.

Having said that, I suspect Okishio was the first.  However, I would
leave open the possibility that Muelpfordt said something about this (I
don't recall it in what I've read, but there's a whole dissertation I
haven't seen) or von Charasoff, or Mozskowska, who I haven't read at all.
I suspect that the interpretation developed as a backwards "deduction"
from simultaneous equation ("Leontief", actually "Walras") models of
valuation.  In other words, people first had the model and then searched
for passages that would seem to justify the concept of valuation
expressed in the model.  This is why I mentioned Muelpfordt and von
Charasoff, who were both working with simultaneous equation models.

I also have not found this interpretation in Meek or Sweezy.  They, and
people like Bortkiewicz, Seton, and so forth seem not to have been
working with models of simultaneous determination of value.  They instead
employed models of reproduction and, it seems to me, "deduced" their
interpretation from the "requirements" of reproduction.  This would not
lead "naturally" to the misinterpretation of passages like those in
_Capital_ I, 8 or _Capital_ III, 6.  In other words, the per-unit value
transferred from inputs will match the per-unit value of outputs when
there's balanced reproduction, but that's a special case that neither
requires nor suggests that the actual input prices are irrelevant to the
determination of values as a matter of *definition*.

In any case, I found this to be a very intriguing, thought-provoking

Andrew Kliman

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