[OPE-L:5743] Re: Re: Re: why are we on this list?

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Sat Jun 02 2001 - 03:48:19 EDT

Just to emend what I wrote:

>  This is not the traditional transformation problem; as fred has put 
>it, I have been raising the problem of an inverse transformation 

Jerry, just to beat the dead horse. Samuelson of course discusses the 
Morishima-Seton inverse transformation problem--that is taking as 
given columns 1 (cost price) and columns 5 (price of production) and 
then by calculating a uniform s/v deriving the entries for columns 2 
(surplus value) and 3 (total value). Samuelson has great fun mocking 
this since it putatively now shows that profit holds surplus value. 
He uses a lot of exclamation points as if he has really scored big 

  But he seems not to understand Marx one bit. Marx would neither have 
thought it possible nor would have he  been the least interested in 
getting exactly right the value entries for the individual capitals. 
Value theory never allows one to determine the value transferred or 
surplus value produced any one capital. That is, Marx would never 
have tried to carry out an actual inverse transformation (it's 
impossible to do an inverse transformation in each individual case 
because as I have been arguing the actual value transferred cannot be 
directly observed or measured). For Samuelson to think otherwise just 
reveals profound ignorance of the nature of Marxian theory, and I 
maintain that Samuelson has himself read very little of Marx--he 
relies on Meek, Sweezy and Dobb.

For Marx, value theory was meant to explain not the micro magnitudes 
of exchange ratios in which the vulgar economist is interested above 
all else but the movements in the average rate of profit as a result 
of changes (mainly) in the OCC, that is, the alternation between 
prosperity and depression. That is, Marx is attempting to explain the 
movement in the average rate of profit in terms of not directly 
observable and measurable changes in the value magnitudes--vcc, s/v, 
etc. I think Mattick Sr's chapter on the labor theory of value in 
marx and keynes is  outstanding on the real explanandum of Marxian 
value theory.


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