[OPE-L:4436] Re: Re: what is Volume 1 about?

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Sat Nov 04 2000 - 00:05:51 EST

On Fri, 3 Nov 2000, Allin Cottrell wrote:
> On Fri, 3 Nov 2000, Fred B. Moseley wrote:
> > Medio's presentation is perhaps the clearest expression of this
> > interpretation that "Volume 1 is about labor-values only".  He explicitly
> > calls his system of equations (2) the "value system".  The variables
> > determined in his "value system" are the labor-values of individual
> > commodities and the rate of surplus-value (as a ratio of
> > labor-values).  Money and prices do not appear in the "value
> > system" equations at all.
> >
> > Paul Z., Paul C., Allin, and other proponents of the "two system"
> > interpretation:  is Medio's interpretation more or less what you
> > have in mind by "Volume 1 is about labor-values only"?
> This is a bit of a "when did you stop beating your wife?" sort
> of question.  

I certainly didn't mean the question that way.  I thought that is the way
you and others have interpreted Volume 1.  Maybe I overstated.  Maybe I
should not have said "Volume 1 is about labor-values ONLY", but rather
"the MAIN variables determined in Volume 1, and the variables that are
taken as given in Volume 3 (e.g. in the determination of prices of
production), are labor-values, like in Medio's "value system".  Is that a
correct characterization of your interpretation?

> I agree with Medio insofar as I think you can
> derive commodity values and the rate of surplus value from
> direct labour coefficients and input-output coefficients, and
> that (in principle) prices play no part in this sort of
> calculation.

But the question is: do you think this is what Volume 1 is mainly about?

> But I don't think vol. 1 is "about labour values only": that
> would be an odd claim when Marx spends quite a lot of time
> talking about money.  

Why do you think Marx talks a lot about money in Volume 1?  Are money
variables theoretically determined in Volume 1, or do they just serve as
indirect illustrations of labor-values?  If money variables are
determined, which variables?  

> I do think, however, that he assumes
> prices = values throughout vol. 1 (other than in a few contexts
> where he explicitly states otherwise) so that his use of pounds,
> shillings as so on can be taken a shorthand for quanta of labour
> time.

Again, the question is: what is Volume 1 mainly about?  What are the main
variables determined?  You seem to suggest that the main variables
determined are labor-time quantities, and money quantities merely serve as
"shorthand" for these labor-time quantities; i.e. these money quantities
are not in themselves theoretically determined.  Do I understand you

Allin, thanks a lot for your response and I look forward to further


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Nov 30 2000 - 00:00:04 EST