[OPE-L:4945] More Prices of Production

From: John Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Date: Sat Feb 17 2001 - 14:04:44 EST

Fred and Andrew seem to be at it again on the transformation 
stuff.   Witness the flurry of posts.   Some observations.

1.  I think we need to bear in mind that the capitalists of 
    today are not necessarily after higher profit rates but do seek
    higher rates of return on their investments.  Here I note
    that Marx had the good sense not to publish his transformation
    examples nor did he continue focusing on a simple rate of profit 
    after 1868.  Indeed, all of his work on CAPITAL in the 1870's 
    was on Vol. II.  This allowed him to consider and develop concepts
    that did not require resolution of the issues surrounding 
    measures of profitability.
That said,  a few comments concerning the recent posts. 

2.  I see no reason to assume that the unit prices paid for the investments
    in Marx's transformation examples are equal to the unit prices
    of commodities produced with those investments.  Further, I find 
    no textual evidence that Marx made such an assumption.

3.  Marx's examples are not part of some sort of reproduction schemes.  
    Indeed, Marx, in correspondence with Engles, notes that the commodities
    produced by natural monopolies are not included in his transformation 
    examples.  This would rule out any effort to place the transformation
    procedure within the context of reproduction --  simple, expanded or

4.  Kliman and McClone's work on the transformation problem is in response
    to those who use Marx's reproduction schemes to criticize his
    procedure.  Few relevant comments have been made concerning the success
or failure of
    their efforts.  Certainly, none in recent comments.

5.  If we simply accept the idea that unit input and unit output prices are
    equal in Marx's transformation procedure and that this means that 
    the inputs were produced using the same techniques as the outputs,
    then we are forced to conclude that prices of production can only
    exist when no technical change is taking place.  Since technical
    change is more or less an ongoing feature of capitalism, prices
    of production can never exist.     


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