[OPE-L:4343] Re: Price-Value Equivalence!

From: Andrew_Kliman (Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com)
Date: Sat Oct 28 2000 - 12:23:41 EDT

In OPE-L 4341, Paul Z. wrote "I don't see this particular discussion
["price-value equivalence" vs. "price = value"] as being of significance

I think there are a few reasons why it is significant.  One, in recent
years people have begun to claim that the "transformation problem" is
about the difference between monetary and labor-time sums.  This is an
elemental misunderstanding of Marx AND of Bortkiewicz-Sweezy.

Two, due to the alleged "transformation problem," i.e. the difficulty
they've had in relating value to price, some folks (e.g., Morishima,
followed by Dumenil and Levy) have begun to claim that values have
nothing to do with (money) prices; they are by definition exclusively
labor-time magnitudes and their exclusive function is to measure the
amount of labor required for production -- not to explain prices at all.

Three, what's at issue is the reality of value as distinct from price.
To be able to speak of prices as resulting from the redistribution in the
market of already-produced value, values need to be understood as (a)
having a monetary expression but (b) a magnitude that differs from the
redistributed magnitude.  It might seem that comparison of value ratios
with price ratios would do the trick, but that doesn't really work
because the *totals* also matter.  If money prices are simply values
distributed differently, total price must equal total value (and total
profit must equal total surplus-value).

Paul:  "... but I do think the abstraction in Volume 1 from variations
across industries of differing compositions of capital is of

I've been trying to indicate that Marx doesn't abstract from unequal
compositions of capital in Vol. I.  He abstracts (from Ch. 6 onward, and
then not always) from price-value deviations.  Equal value compositions
are one factor that, together with others, could ensure that prices =
values, but there are other ways of obtaining that equality.  E.g., one
could let profit rates differ.

Marx doesn't even do that.  He simply stipulates the equality as an

One reason why this is important is that, if one asserts that he's
dealing with the whole social capital when explaining the origin of
surplus-value, one misses the fact that he's locating the origin in the
production process of an *individual* (i.e., each individual) capital,
and one begins to think of profit as an aggregate phenomenon, which
depends on a whole complex of conditions and interdependencies.  For
someone like yourself who emphasizes class struggle, I wouldn't think
that's an attractive vantage point.

Andrew Kliman

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