[OPE-L:4557] Re: transformation

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Date: Tue Nov 21 2000 - 22:00:59 EST

Rakesh wrote:

> >>  That's fine, Paul C. But do note that for decades now critics like
> >>  you have been accusing Marx of having suffered from a fatal logical
> >>  defect to which only obscurantists can remain blind. This is a
> >>  serious charge which has been made with absolute arrogance.

to which Paul C responded:

> >I would ask you to retract that or find some publication of mine
> >where I have made such an accusation against Marx. The only
> >publication that I have on the transformation problem says that
> >it is probably a non-problem because market prices are as
> >close to untransformed values as they are to prices of production.

to which Rakesh then replied:

> I am sorry to have assumed that you shared Allin C's
> assessment that though Marx's transformation procedure
> logically collapses upon the inclusion of the inputs, the
> labor theory of value still holds empirical validity in
> direct or untransformed or "Ricardian" terms, i.e., in the
> ability of embodied labor coefficients to account for market
> prices.

I believe (subject to correction by Paul) that he and I share a
common view of the transformation issue.  Namely, that Marx's
analysis is incomplete (the inputs not being transformed) and
that once it is completed Marx's "two equalities" don't hold in
general, but that this is not a very big deal since the rate of
profit is not equalized and market prices are as close to values
as to prices of production.  Like Paul, I can say that my only
publication on this issue made the latter point.  I have never
accused Marx of suffering a "fatal logical defect".

By the way, Rakesh's new view seems to me substantively
indistinguishable from Bortkiewicz/Sweezy.  There's nothing in
the B/S approach that _necessitates_ holding total profit =
total surplus value rather than total value = total price, as
Rakesh prefers.  So hold total price = total value in the
transformation.  Then, in general, total profit diverges from
total surplus value (as determined in the "original" table).
Rakesh seems to accept this result; he just wants to gloss it
differently from B/S, by saying that "total surplus value"
changes in the course of the transformation.

Allin Cottrell.

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