[OPE-L:6866] Re: Diego Guerrero

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Tue Apr 02 2002 - 20:32:21 EST

Re Diego's [6848]:

> 1) Price and value are the same thing [In fact, this is true just for
> produced commodities only; for non-produced commodities (land, titles,
> wines or paintings, etc.) we should say that they have relative prices (or
> values) without having absolute prices (or values). Marx agreed with
> in limiting the scope of the LTV to "normal" commodities].

Does this mean that you accept the value-form position (as expounded by
Mike W, Geert, Chris A and others) concerning the identity of value and

> 2) Absolute prices (or values) and relative prices (or values) are two
> different things. The former are quantities of labor, the latter are
> of quantities of labor (in the general case, really spent labor; in the
> special cases, just "commanded" labor), so that their unit of measure
> on what is the thing to which we are comparing the value of commodity c.
> we are comparing it with commodity b, the unit is "units of b per unit of
> c"; if comparing with gold money, the unit is "gold dollars per unit of
> if comparing with present credit money, "dollars per unit of c"; etc.

What do you think is the current role of gold in the international
capitalist economy?

> 3) Real prices and theoretical prices. The former are prices actually used
> in social life (in real capitalistic exchanges, and in two different
> single one-to-one exchanges and statistical, average prices). The latter
> the categories we need for a complete theory of value: "individual" values
> (or prices), direct values (or prices), production values (or prices), and
> so on (for instance, monopoly prices, market-with-no-State prices, etc.).
> The different theoretical prices of any commodity only differ in
> not in substance.

Where do "market prices" fit into that scheme?

> 4) Practical people don't need theoretical prices: entrepreneurs are
> interested only in real prices (past, present and future prices);
> can know prices just by asking the store's employees, etc.

Often, it is not that easy for consumers to know the real price. As you
know, in many domestic markets the "asking price" is understood by all
market participants to be different from the "selling price".   Indeed,
it that way in many Spanish markets?

>But people
> interested in theoretical considerations do need theoretical prices.
> to the latter we can understand:
>     a) the workings of competition (for instance, how intra-sectoral
> competition imposes one direct price,

this assumes a particular form of competition. With product differentiation
and oligopolistic markets, it is often not that simple.

> and how individual profit rates are
> different for the different firms in a sector; or how inter-sectoral
> competition makes production prices to be above or below direct prices
> according to whether sectoral capital compositions are above or below the
> average composition; or how a temporary excess demand can push the
> theoretical "market price" above the level od the production price; etc.).

is there any reason to assume that those commodities where there is an
excess temporary demand will somehow "balance" those commodities where
there is an excess temporary supply?  I think not.

>     b) the dynamics of the market economy, ie, the overall movement of the
> acumulation of capital is reflected into the movement of prices because
> dynamics of the quantities of labor (its total and its fractions) is what
> determines the dynamics of relative prices.

As Paul Z has reminded us, Marxists have advanced different understandings
of the expression "accumulation of capital".  How do you understand that

> 5) So that the "singleness" of the TSS system seems to me a rather timid
> one.

"Timid" in relation to what exactly?

> 6) The "temporality" of the TSS seems to me a wrong attempt to capture the
> necessary dynamical character of value.

I don't understand -- do you object to the emphasis on temporality in terms
of comprehending the dynamic character of value or do you object to the
particular way in which this is done in the TSS literature? If the latter,
what particularly do you object to?

> The latest paper by Alejandro
> Ramos --a former ope-l suscriber--, which has been positively appraised by
> Duncan Foley --another former subscriber-- but not so much by Paul
> Cockshott --a current suscriber-- is a new example. I think the TSS
> proponents tend to adopt an "individual firm" point of view.

I'm not convinced of this objection. Could you explain it more?

>But in Marx and
> in reality the social point of view has priority. We need to understand
> and why values are decreasing in time due to continuos labor productivity
> improvements. But real time is composed by a succession of moments (t0,
> t2...), and in all and every one of them both production (labor) processes
> and purchases-and-sales are taking simultaneously place. The use of
> of simultaneous equations are useful for understanding the dynamics of
> value, just as the use of photo cameras (not only movie cameras) are
> for understanding the dynamics of other facts and events.

Yet, Paul C (and others?) have objected to using "period analysis" as above.
Don't we need, even if we utilize period of production analysis, to ask what
happens *during* a period?

Your championing of photo cameras seems to suggest that you think that
comparative statics has a role in understanding dynamics.  What role do you
think it has?

I apologize for the brevity of these responses. I've been out-of-town for a
number of days and have a lot of mail to catch-up on.

In solidarity, Jerry

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