[OPE-L:7784] Re: Re: Re: "Hic Rhodus, hic salta!" (really product differentiation)

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Wed Oct 09 2002 - 19:12:59 EDT

re Paulo's 7783:

>Jerry, the inner need to product differentiation is developed by Marx in the
>Grundrisse: it comes out of the process of increasing productivity which tends
>to saturate social need (=demand at market value). It is posed as the conflict
>between the endless expansion of value by capital versus limited capacity to
>absorb use value on the part of humans.

This is a very neat formulation. This conflict would seem to make 
equilibrium incapable of realisation as a permanent rule of 
capitalist dynamics.

I am reminded here of Grossmann in his dynamics book:

"The incongruence of hte value aspect and the material aspect of the 
process of reproduction which we have looked at from teh side of 
production is increased still more by forces coming from the demand 
side. A uniform proportional expansion of all the spheres of 
production rests on the hidden assumption that demand (consumption) 
can also be expanded in an even and proportional manner. In 
opposition to this Marx emphasises that individual productive use of 
certain commodities is tied and inelastic, which msut likewise result 
in an uneven material expansion of production in the various spheres. 
No one who finds two tractors sufficient for the cultivation of land 
will buy four simply because their price has fallen by a half, as the 
demand for tractors--all things being equal--is not a function of 
their price, but of the acreage of land. i.e., it is determined 
quantitatively. 'However use value--competition--depends not on 
value, but on the quantity. It is quite unintelligible why I should 
buy six knives because I now get them for the same price that I 
previously paid for one.' [Marx, TSVIII, p.119]. All these moments 
serve to make a uniformity of motion of the technical and value 
aspects impossible to achieve, and to hinder the dual proportioning 
of the development of the productive apparatus, in both value and 
quantitative terms, which is postulated by economic theory as the 
condition for 'equilibrium.'"

Doesn't Pasinetti also put the conflict which you have highlighted at 
the center of his glut theory?

There is another point I want to make. Well it's an analogy. You seem 
to be saying that the maximal valorization of value depends on the 
continuous development of new species of commodities, i.e., product 
differentiation.  Similarily one can argue that in the biological 
evolutionary process, the maximalization of life over the surface of 
the earth has depended on the creation of ever new species which can 
fill in ever more ecological niches. In other words maximalization 
whether of value or life requires a kind of continuous speciation or 
product differentiation, i.e., the creation of new species and new 
commodities. Well, that's an analogy just for the fun of it.

Yours, Rakesh

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