On Sat, 21 Oct 2000, Rakesh Narpat Bhandari wrote: > Re Steve's 4189 > > >A more technical statement of my frustration with your approach is that you > >appeal to a system which, if stated in the form of dynamic equations, would > >have more unknowns than equations. I agree with Steve: the problem I have with your mode of argument is not that you're dodging empirical refutation, but that you're dodging theoretical refutation, by introducing complicating assumptions as the argument goes along so that your opponent (e.g. me) is unable to pin you down to any particular proposition and is eventually forced to give up. As regards the transformation, I have this diagnosis. One coherent view of the issue is that stemming from Bortkiewicz. There is a clear argument showing that Marx's two equalities cannot both be sustained. This argument is usually developed in relation to a simple tableau showing simple reproduction. Now it would be weird and wonderful if one could show that while Marx's two equalities don't hold in *that* case, they nonetheless *do* hold in the case of extended reproduction with ongoing technical change. I don't believe you've shown anything of the sort. You've just complexified the example to the point where we lose track of the original situation we're trying to transform, then "anything goes". There is, however, an alternative view on which Marx's two equalities do hold (regardless of dynamics and all that). This is the view Andrew and Alan Freeman defend. It requires that we conceive of the "value transferred to the product by the means of production" not in the "standard" way, as the socially necessary labour-time required to produce the means of production, but rather as the price of the means of production divided by the economy-wide MELT. (I think this claim fundamentally breaks the labour theory of value and I can't accept it.) If you take this view, it simply doesn't matter whether the means of production are assumed to be priced "at their values" in the initial transformation tableau, or at prices of production, or at arbitrary market prices. Marx's single-step transformation needs no further adjustment because the value transferred by the means of production is itself a function of the prices of those means of production. I think you have to choose. You've said several times that some further adjustment is called for due to the fact that Marx's inputs are assumed to be priced at value, but you refuse to follow out the logic of that admission. Well then, consider the alternative. Allin Cottrell.
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