[OPE-L:8208] Re: Re: direct and indirect causes of surplus-value

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Wed Dec 18 2002 - 02:51:07 EST

>Rakesh, as I have argued before, I think you should ignore it.  There are
>only two brief passages in which Marx states that there are "two reasons
>for the divergence" between value and price of production. 
>On the other side of the textual ledger, there are a dozen or so passages,
>documented in my papers and previous OPEL posts, which directly contradict
>these two passages, because they state that the "cost price is the
>same" for both the value and the price of production of commodities, which
>implies that there is only ONE reason for the divergence between value and
>price of production - profit not equal to surplus-value. 
>I think Marx simply misspoke in the two "double divergence" passages, and
>did not realize that he was conflating a simple meaning of value from
>Volume 1 with a more complicated meaning of value from Volume 3. 
>Rakesh, I don't want to get into this subject right now, since it is a
>large subject and would take some time, but I would be happy to return to
>this subject in the spring sometime, if you wish.  If so, please let me
>know when would be a good time for you. 

Dear Fred, you are right that we have beat these questions to death. 
We have discussed

*this question of double divergence,
*the basic formulas for the determination and resolution of total value and
   total price of production,
*the discursive use to which Marx puts the imagined average commodity,
*the nature of the mistake to which Marx is calling attention, and
*the manner in which the value transferred from the used-up means of production
   and raw materials is determined.

You have of course convinced me that the cost prices are a given 
precondition. This is no small disagreement so for example while I 
find Shaikh's and Gouverneur's iterative solutions quite powerful, I 
do think they begin with an incorrect assumption about what was wrong 
in Marx's own tables.  I think my own interpretation (the inverse 
transformation problem) which accepts your key point keeps intact 
Marx's exploitation theory and the double divergence of values and 
prices and does not lead to contradiction with those passages in 
which Marx says the cost price is the same for either *total* price 
of production (k+p) and *total* value (k+s) or for the price of 
production of the *average* commodity (k'+p') and the value of the 
*average* commodity (k'+s'). I have argued this before, and I don't 
think I have anything to add.

When we both have the time, I would like to discuss our respective 
justifications for the way in which we think the value transferred is 
determined. It would probably be best if we could do this without 
appeal to what Marx himself wrote (Jerry has a point about 
hermeneutics becoming an end in itself) but in terms of which 
determination is consistent with the labor theory of value. Perhaps 
both are. I do have a sense that the analysis of real disturbances in 
the capitalist market depends on which determination of value 
transferred we use as well.

But we'll talk about this next year. I hope I haven't said any thing 
here that makes it difficult to close off a discussion which surely 
can wait!

Comradely, Rakesh

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