[OPE-L:8113] Re: Re: Re: re: marx and labour theory of value

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Wed Dec 04 2002 - 08:28:31 EST

Paul C writes in 8110

>The question is how accurate a determination prices one can get from
>an i/o model drawn up on the basis of national accounts.

Yes, this is a fair and succinct re-formulation of my question.

>  The answer is
>that it is not bad. This does not rule out the possibility that one
>could derive an even better model if one had access to disaggregated
>foreign trade statistics. As it stands, the i.o tables deal with this
>just as another industry that consumes exports and produces imports.

Well what about Cyrus Bina's approach?  He assumes that the global 
price of oil is regulated by the least productive oil fields. That 
is, there is no longer a national level of prices but a level 
determined on the world market. The price of oil is not regulated by 
its labor value in each respective capitalist national market as that 
labor value would be calculated on the basis of i/o tables in the 
respective nations' accounts. It is only by assuming that value and 
price formation happen on a global scale that Bina is able to explain 
the magnitude of differential oil rent and in particular the 
movements of Arab oil rent the struggle over the disbursement of 
which he puts at the center of international political conflict.

Moreover, unless we assume that social values are formed at a global 
level,  then we can't even entertain the possibility that 
technologically advanced countries are making a surplus profit at the 
cost of the technologically less developed ones. The hostility to 
international unequal exchange theory then would stem from the 
methodological impossibility of accomodating it once one has assumed 
that the value which regulates price in each respective national 
market can be calculated on the basis of each respective nation's i-o 

>As to whether the correlations obtained between labour contents and
>sectoral prices indicate that labour contents determine sectoral prices,
>well in one sense you are right, it could just be a matter of chance
>that prices are closely correlated with labour inputs but not for instance
>with electricity inputs, but this is unlikely given the strength of
>the correlations and their replicability accross countries.

  I am not saying that labor value contents or transformed labor value 
contents do not determine prices. I am asking whether either can be 
known simply on the basis of national data.


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