[OPE-L:7955] Re: relation of value to organic composition of capital

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Thu Nov 07 2002 - 10:19:29 EST

Hi Jerry,

Re [7953]:

Thanks for the reply -- I feel that we are close to seeing each 
other's point of view. Let me try to clear up some remaining 
> I don't think that there can be any meaningful  and unproblematic way
> in which we can 'assess' (calculate?) use-value.

I agree with you. This is why I have ceased to call the OCC and 
'index' of the TCC. Rather, we are interested in the value 'of' the 
TCC i.e. the ratio of values, rather than the ratio of use values. The 
OCC and the VCC are two different valuations of the TCC.

> I don't think that use-values can be accurately "assessed", i.e.
> assigned a meaningful magnitude. [and we should avoid a contrivance
> like the marginalist  pseudo-measure "utils".]

By 'assessment' I do not quite mean 'measurement'. Rather I mean 
the valuation of the TCC. The value 'attached' to the TCC, if you 
like. One can value the TCC in different ways and these different 
ways have different implications. If one uses 'current prices' (my 
definition of the VCC) then there are two distinct reasons why the 
ratio might change: (1) a change in the TCC; (2) a change in the 
current unit price of one or more of the elements of the TCC. If one 
uses constant prices (my definition of the OCC) then this 
eliminates (abstracts from)  (2), above. i.e. the only thing that can 
cause the OCC to change is a change in the TCC. In this sense 
the OCC is the 'value-reflex' of the TCC.  Thus I am coming to the 
view that the phrase 'value-reflex' of the TCC is the best description 
of the OCC. This latter phrase gets to the heart of the subtlities of 
what is going on here. It is the phrase used by Alfredo.

Above I have considered the dynamic case (the case Simon 
considers also) since this is easiest to grasp. But the static case 
follows the same logic: the OCC only changes if the TCC changes, 
not if unit prices change. The OCC is the 'value-reflex' of the TCC.

> > Now, in the dynamic case
> > (addressed by Simon, and the easiest one to understand) then one can
> > see the OCC as a constant price measure and the VCC as a current
> > price measure. In the static case of the transformation problem one
> > simply holds the OCC constant (because the TCC is unchanged) as we
> > go through a logical rather than temporal sequence, first looking at
> > the 'value' rate of profit (i.e. before profit rate equalisation)
> > and second at the 'price' rate of profit (the equalised rate).
> > Again, I simply can't stress too highly how important this is
> > because it blows away the myth that Marx's procedure is flawed
> > because he 'failed' to transform the inputs.
> Since the above appears to be a summary of a presentation that
> I am not familiar with (from Alfredo's book? ... your dissertation?)
> I'll not comment at this time.

Ben Fine first suggested this approach but he does it in a short 
note which is difficult to follow (ref given in my previous email). 
Alfredo's is the key presentation. He has made a clear and 
comprehensive exposition of Marx's transformation procedure 
('Capital' Vol 3, ch.9) in his 1997 C&C (no.63: pp.115--36), paper. A 
further refinement and development of this interpretation is to be 
found in his book.

> > Above I have suggested that there are overwhelming theoretical
> > 'advantages' with the distinction. In short, it clears up the
> > controversy over both the TP and the LTRPF. How much more
> > useful can you get!?:)
> For the same reason I indicated above, I will not comment on this
> assertion.

On the LTRPF see refs given in previous email.

> Yes, it's different.  But, I'm not convinced that the underlying issue
> is satisfactorily answered.  You still attempt to assign some way of
> measuring/assessing the TCC.  How *exactly* is this done?

I hope that the above has made clear what I mean. It is not a 
question of 'measuring' the TCC (as my original term 'index' 
unhelpfully suggested). Rather it is a question of valuing the TCC in 
such a way that the valuation only changes if the TCC changes 
(thus abstracting from changes in unit prices). The exact way to do 
this in the dynamic case is to use constant prices. In the static 
case of Vol 3 ch.9 one simply leaves the OCC unchanged as one 
moves from values to prices (i.e. the inputs do not get 

> The VCC  doesn't *by itself*, i.e. in isolation from the TCC, 
> encompass that distinction.  It is the OCC rather that 'mirrors' both
> the VCC and TCC. That is, it is only the OCC -- rather than the TCC or
> VCC -- which encompasses both the use-value and value sides.

I think I grasp this aspect of your view. My question is, then, why 
not simply call the 'OCC' the 'CC'? The term 'CC' would then refer to 
the unity. The terms 'TCC' and 'VCC' would refer to the two poles of 
the unity.

Thanks again,


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