[OPE-L:4524] Re: Re: Marxist economists

From: Paul Cockshott (paul@cockshott.com)
Date: Wed Nov 15 2000 - 05:46:51 EST

On Wed, 15 Nov 2000, you wrote:
> Alejandro,
> Yet it should be perfectly obvious--though it has gone unremarked for 
> one hundred years--that Marx himself would argue that if one is given 
> a commodity output with a fixed magnitude of value, any increase in 
> the  cost price alone (and this is exactly and only what 
> Bortkiewicz-Sweezy-Cottrell-Foley's complete transformation does) 
> cannot in itself lead to rising prices, as they all have it,  but 
> rather diminished surplus value. Given a commodity output of fixed 
> magnitude in value, a rise in paid labor obviously implies a fall in 
> unpaid labor.
> It has been part of the reign of error to reason that since in Marx's 
> own incomplete transformation applied only to the outputs he holds 
> the mass of surplus value invariant,  the mass of surplus value 
> should then remain invariant when the procedure is "completed" by 
> modifying cost price on a basis of the transformation of the inputs.
> It is obviously not possible to keep the mass of surplus value fixed 
> if one is now going to modify the cost price of a commodity whose 
> value and price (its monetary expression) remains constant. Upon the 
> transformation of the inputs, surplus value has to be modified if 
> cost price and surplus value are to remain inversely related 
> components of total value, instead of independently determined 
> magnitudes which are simply added up to arrive at price.
I dont see how you simultaneously hold selling prices fixed, whilst
cost prices change. 

Surely the cost prices have only changed because the commodities
have been sold at a different price?

Whether prices of the aggregate output should change is a quite
different question. If denominated in gold, one should expect them
to change if the exchange value of gold changes in the transformation
process. If one is using paper money as ones unit of account,
then one simply renormalises to compensate for changes in the
value of money - since the exchange value of the unit of paper currency is
external to the theory.

Paul Cockshott, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland
0141 330 3125  mobile:07946 476966

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