[OPE-L:7606] Re: Gold in the Transformation Problem

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Thu Sep 05 2002 - 11:23:44 EDT

Gil writes in 7604:

>  (a) whether Marx intended to categorically exclude gold from his 
>K.III Chapter 9 analysis on the sort of historical grounds raised by 
>Fred, despite Marx's earlier announcement that he intended to 
>abstract from such historically specific considerations... which 
>brings us to (a).  Since Marx is dead, we have no way of settling 
>the matter, so I won't bother trying.  Marx does not clarify the 
>matter either way in Ch. 9, and presumably neither side of this 
>discussion pretends to be able to go back in time to read Marx's mind
>  or to recall him from the dead to figure out the answer.

This is not a matter of a seance but rather analytical argument. Your 
attempt to say that this matter of interpretation cannot be 
approached through rational argument seems to me a cop out not to 
engage the matter. That is, your approach here is dismissive rather 
than analytical.

At any rate, we don't have to read Marx's mind; the point is whether 
the good reasons are on the side of inclusion or exclusion. In 
7574-5, I have given three reasons for exclusion even on the 
assumption that gold is produced exclusively by capitalist firms; you 
haven't engaged the reasoning. Fred has offered even more reasons. 
You haven't responded to his analytical argument.

As Michele points out Marx does have a theory of absolute rent; it 
would seem to apply in the case of precious metals. It's not a matter 
of reading Marx's mind but reading him and thinking for oneself.

>   But the discussion has at least given rise to a new (or at least 
>not previously obvious) theoretical insight about the economic 
>conditions under which Marx's/Fred's conclusion do and do not hold.

As I have noted,  reasons for the exclusion of gold had been provided 
by David Yaffe and Michele Naples. Their reasoning had been ignored. 
I added a reason--a condition of possibility for the tendential 
realization of prices of production is the sensitivity of the supply 
of a commodity to variation in output decisions (see my 7542 and 


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