[OPE-L:7112] Re: Re: the value[s] of labour power, nationally and internationally

From: Francisco Paulo Cipolla (cipolla@sociais.ufpr.br)
Date: Fri May 03 2002 - 11:27:32 EDT

gerald_a_levy wrote:

> Thus,  the M-C-M'  description  is misleading since it doesn't begin with M
> purchasing MP and LP and _then_ there is production; rather there is M advanced
> for MP and labour-power is secured, through an employment contract,  where
> both workers and capitalists understand as part of that contract that the money for
> LP won't be paid out to workers as wages until  *after* production has commenced.
> (
Hi Jerry! It may be misleading in the sense that the actual expenditure
does not occur until labor power has actually been performed. But the
money must be there from the beginning as long as the sum of production
time + circulation time is greater than the time through which labor
power must perform before it get paid. If the sum of production time +
circulation time were smaller than the payment period then capitalists
would not be required any money in advance for the payment of wages.
As reproduction goes on could we say, mimicking Marx, that the "law" of
variable capital in advance is subverted into the law of payment by the
result of the laborers own product in money form, regardless of
production time + circulation time being greater or smaller than the
payment period?
Paulo Cipolla

gerald_a_levy wrote:

> Re Diego's [7047] and Nicky's [7046]: Diego wrote: > I think that the
> "historical and moral element" of the VLP refers to the regional
> (national) definition of this commodity. All commodities are
> historically defined: <snip, JL>. Therefore we need to define
> different national levels of the VLP at each moment in historical
> time, I agree. The question then becomes (relating it to the original
> context of Simon'squestion):  how can we make  quantitative
> international comparisons for the valuesof labour power?   If we can't
> do that, then we can't really say much about thedisparities between
> the values of labour power and wages globally. > i.e. I think Marx
> meant that all others commodities (in the general case of the LTV)
> would tend to have the same price throughout the world, but this would
> not be the case for the labor power. I beg to differ. There are *many*
> commodities that are sold at different marketprices in different
> markets in the global economy.  E.g. consider the price ofnew (or
> used) housing internationally (or even often regionally within a
> nation.)Or, consider the price of milk in different markets
> internationally.  Or, considerthe markets prices for different forms
> of entertainment such as ticket pricesat movie theatres. Or, consider
> the market price for health care (where itisn't nationalized  or
> subsidized.)   Or, consider the market price of maize,tobacco,  and
> coffee in different international markets. Or, consider the
> marketprices of  electricity, coal,  oil and gasoline
> internationally. Or, consider theprices  of   the same pharmaceuticals
> *even when they  are produced by thesame transnational  corporations*
> when sold in different national markets.  Etc.Etc. Etc.  I think  that
> the "law of one price" (LOOP) was *not* advanced by Marx(certainly not
> as a "law"  -- perhaps only provisionally as a simplifying
> assumption)but has instead been advanced by  some Marxist economists
> who want to simplifythe quantitative calculations and have solvable
> equations  in models andillustrations.  As an empirical matter,  I
> think that even the much *milder* claim thatmost commodities are sold
> at the same market price in international markets cannot be sustained
> -- indeed, I suspect that the # of exceptions is greater than the
> #that conform to the alleged "rule". [A related note: what is
> understood as 'simple labour' can and does vary internationallyand
> historically.  Thus, for instance, there can be long-run changes in
> what issocially understood to be simple labor due to changes in
> education: e.g. in most (?)capitalist social formations basic literacy
> and mathematical ability is presumed(whereas historically and in other
> contemporary capitalist social formations this wasand is not
> considered the 'norm').  This adds an additional complexity to the
> 'reductionproblem'  since what one is reducing _to_ is not the same
> internationally.] > I think that some elements in Leontief and von
> Neumann models are pure mathematical elements, and may and should be
> detached from their material components. For instance, one can dettach
> the instrumental way in which Alfred Marshall or Joan Robinson drew
> some curves and use them for different purposes without any need for
> sharing Marshall's or Robinson's ideas about the capitalist society.
> The issue isn't one of pure mathematics. The issue is whether a
> particularmathematical technique does justice or injustice to our
> understanding ofa particular socio-economic question.  E.g. there is
> nothing wrong with linearalgebra or one-sector models from a
> mathematical perspective -- yet they arehighly problematic tools if we
> are attempting to model non-linear and dynamicsocial processes.  Thus,
> the Von Neumann model (like the Harrod model andother one-sector
> models) exhibits a "knife-edge" problem which should tell usthat such
> models have very limited applications.  Also, on a more general note,I
> think that when considering whether techniques used by marginalists
> shouldbe adopted for convenience sake by Marxists for a particular
> task, we have tobe very careful that we aren't unwittingly importing
> marginalist assumptions andtheory  into our analysis. Nicky wrote:
> <<Even in a single social formation, how do you arrive at the 'value'
> of the
> consumption bundle (means of consumption) in labour hours?:
> 1) how do you compare the different kinds of skills that go into
> producing
> different commodities, and reducing them to simple labour hours?  Marx
> himself aimed to save the trouble of making this reduction, by
> considering
> labour time to be only an 'immanent measure' (i.e. not computable).
> Where exactly did he write that labour time isn't computable?
> 2) The actual measure is money; has to be.  For one thing, money wages
> are
> paid before production but the real wage is known only after
> production. Yet, as a practical matter, money wages tend to be paid
> at  intervals that begin*after* production has commenced.   How many
> workers do you think receive wagesbefore they have produced
> anything?  Indeed,  the lag between work done and wagesreceived is one
> of the mechanisms of control by capitalists over  wage-workers. Thus,
> the M-C-M'  description  is misleading since it doesn't begin with
> Mpurchasing MP and LP and _then_ there is production; rather there is
> M advancedfor MP and labour-power is secured, through an employment
> contract,  whereboth workers and capitalists understand as part of
> that contract that the money forLP won't be paid out to workers as
> wages until  *after* production has commenced.(Perhaps Ernesto S would
> like to comment on this?) In solidarity, Jerry PS on Alfredo's [7048]:
> You know as much as we do. If the US government knows,they're not
> telling (us).

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