[OPE-L:5136] Re: Re: one commodity models and illustrations

From: Duncan K. Foley (foleyd@cepa.newschool.edu)
Date: Fri Mar 09 2001 - 21:58:53 EST

Well, you could have an economy in which there were lots of 
qualitatively different commodities as use values but in which they 
all shared the same conditions of production (turnover times, inputs 
other commodities and labor). This would look like a one-commodity 
economy analytically, but it would be a valid special case of a 
multi-commodity economy. You couldn't address problems of the 
equalization of the rate of profit in this economy, but you could 
address other problems, including monetary ones, since the money 
commodity could be one of the commodities.


>Re [OPE-L:5052]:
>>  "I, for one, can see no meaning for a concept of
>>   price in a  one commodity world. I find it
>>  incomprehensible."
>>  (What if, in this same world, money is not a commodity?)
>In the context of an interpretation of Marx, even where is no money
>commodity (pace Akira and Claus), a one commodity world is indeed
>If one is indeed talking about a "one commodity" world
>then one can not also hold that labour power is a commodity since that would
>mean that there are now
>two commodities rather than 1. And,  I think the
>evidence is pretty clear that Marx believed that labour power becomes a
>commodity (even if it is a very special and unique commodity). Of course,
>one can challenge this idea that labour power is a commodity (as Mike W and
>others have done), but if we are still talking about interpretations of
>Marx, rather than Marxist perspectives,  it must be recognized that his
>theory held that labour power is a commodity.
>Moreover, even in the context of a corn model, if that model claims to
>represent Marx's perspective,  a "corn wage" can not be taken as a
>substitute for labour power itself.  This is because labour power *itself*
>(understood here as the capacity, physical and mental, to perform labor)
>exists as a commodity.  In other words, one can not conflate labour-power
>itself with the exchange-value of labour-power.
>In conclusion, combining the above with the explanation in [5050], a "one
>commodity world" is incomprehensible in the context of a discussion about
>Marx's perspectives: "immense accumulation of commodities" can not be
>reduced to a single "commodity" world without misrepresenting the theory.
>In solidarity, Jerry

Duncan K. Foley
Leo Model Professor
Department of Economics
Graduate Faculty
New School University
65 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
messages: (212)-229-5717
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e-mail: foleyd@cepa.newschool.edu
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