[OPE-L:6391] Re: On the meaning and implications of price-value equivalence

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Jan 21 2002 - 09:28:15 EST

Hello Gil and all,

On 18 Jan 2002, at 19:08, Gil Skillman wrote:

> >1. Andrew Brown has importantly argued that Marx's chapter 5 argument
> >does not depend on price value equivalence as Gil says it is.
> He did?  Where?  I must have missed it; could someone forward me the
> relevant post? 

Gil, I'll send something relevant to you.

More to the point....

 But more to the point, I've never, ever argued that Marx's
> chapter 5 arument "depended on" price-value equivalence, contrary to
> Rakesh's assertion.  Rather, Marx's argument in Chapter 5 is devoted to
> establishing the analytical necessity of *positing* the condition of
> price-value equivalence as the starting point for explaining the existence
> of surplus value, as Marx concludes:
> "The transformation of money into capital *has to be developed* on the
> basis of the immanent laws of the exchange of commodities, in such a way
> that the starting-point is the exchange of equivalents." [pp. 268-9,
> Penguin edition; emphasis added].
> I have argued rather that the two grounds Marx gives in Ch. 5 for this
> explicit conclusion are logically invalid.

In chapter 5 Marx *shows* that you *cannot* explain surplus value 
through the positing of unequal exchange. Marx shows this by 
going through buyers 'cheating' sellers; sellars cheating buyers; 
and derivative scenarios. Each time he shows that surplus value is 
not explained. This is all he means by the citation you provide us 
with above.

The chapter is often misinterpreted to be saying that price-value 
equivalence is a crucial *assumption* that Marx makes. It is 
nothing of the sort. It is simply a convenience because any other 
assumption would not get us any further foward towards an 
explanation for SV. If you *drop* the assumption, then Marx's entire 
argument in ch.5 remains completely untouched and entirely valid. 
The assumption of price-value equivalence is no big deal!

Gil, a defect of the preliminary stuff I've done on this is that it 
doesn't address your work at all - I hope to do this soon. In any 
case I've no idea if you agree with the above or not.

Best wishes


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