[OPE-L:7930] Re: Re: relation of value to organic composition of capital

From: Simon Mohun (s.mohun@qmul.ac.uk)
Date: Wed Nov 06 2002 - 09:30:26 EST

Hi Jerry,

Let's suppose the TCC is the ratio of total means of production (MP) to the 
total workers who work with them, expressed in use-value terms. If we wish 
to measure this, then the denominator is unproblematically the hours 
expended on working with these MP. The numerator is a difficulty. Either it 
is a vector, in which case the TCC is a vector divided by a scalar, which 
is hard to make sense of. Or it is a scalar too, an aggregate of the MP. To 
aggregate heterogeneous MP into a scalar requires weights. What choice is 
there other than constant price weights?

Then we need to express the TCC in value terms. But this is problematic 
because both quantities and prices are changing. Accumulation typically 
proceeds via labour-saving MP-using innovations which raise labour 
productivity and s/v. These are processes in production. But for a rise in 
s/v to be realised, prices must change (for that is how the war of 
competition is fought). This happens in circulation. Hence two things are 
going on. Capital intensity is rising in production. And prices (including 
wages) are changing.

The OCC abstracts from the changes in prices. Hence it is measured at 
constant prices, and its movement must mirror the TCC. It measures the 
value of a change in quantities.

The VCC takes into account the changing values too. Hence it is a current 
price measure.

(Digression: actually this is exactly the issue that made so much 
discussion in the Cambridge-Cambridge capital controversies so dreadful. A 
inability to distinguish between the value of a change in something and a 
change in the value of something just led to muddle.)

I don't know whether I agree or disagree with your interpretation. But do 
you have a problem with any of the above?



At 09:04 06/11/02 -0500, you wrote:
>Re [7922]:
>Hi Simon.  As always, it's good to hear from you.
> > Jerry asked what others think. I think Andy is quite right here (and it's
> > independent of the rest of his take on value theory). The issue is merely
> > to distinguish between an index at constant prices and an index at current
> > prices.
>Now I am confused -- even more so than before.  You write that
>"Andy is quite right here" but -- as far as I can tell -- Andy spoke not at
>all to the issue of  indexing at constant prices and current prices in
>[7915] and [7921].  Am I missing something?  You disagree with
>my interpretation  but do you agree with Andy's (and does Andy agree
>with your interpretation?)?
>Would anyone else care to throw her/his hat into the pile?
>In solidarity, Jerry
>PS: I'm afraid I haven't read Alfredo's latest book yet and consequently
>can't comment on his interpretation of these distinction.

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