Re: The increasing transformation problem

From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Fri Jun 06 2003 - 13:13:41 EDT


competition will force producers towards an average, notional,  price, ie the price of production, if they are to have any chance of realising any of the surplus value extracted from their own workforce; but naturally as this is happening the individual capitalists with lower organic composition of capital will see the problem either as one where they are facing 'too high' costs...which is true relative to their competitors..  (for whatever reason in their case), or of too low prices, or both. In fact as the rate of profit  for total social capital palpably falls the notion of 'too low prices' becomes more common since all the capitalists are  suffering (poor things) in the same  way. So it might be better to say that as the range of organic composition extends, the reaction from the 'least efficient' becomes more desperate, or liquidations become more common. 

Your idea that  there is a 'distance' between values and prices cannot apply to any factually observable realm... since values are only expressed in market  prices, which themselves can be explained as being 'regulated' by prices of production. The notion of 'simple price' is a further, anterior, mediating concept that is part of Marx's argument that enables us to grasp the relation between the expenditure of waged labour and market prices amongst many other matters.  I leave aside the fact that  these concepts also have an historical  grounding and development of course and are not simply 'ideas'.

Once I have said that, then your  statement below , as a view of  the relationship between the categories of 'simple price' and 'price of production', - given the limits set by bankruptcies, as I say above - seems fine. I thought that was what Marx was arguing...but the 'proof' can only be in the coherence of the total argument in explaining stubborn 'facts'... but remember when talking of  'proof'  that we are only theorising about the basic features of society and that 'the sum-total of these changes in all their ramifications in the capitalist world economy could not be grasped even by seventy Marxes'  (Lenin . Empirio-Criticism and Historical materialism  p325  Vol 14 English ed)


Paul Bullock.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ernesto Screpanti" <screpanti@UNISI.IT>
Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2003 1:39 PM
Subject: The increasing transformation problem

> Problem:
> When the organic composition of capital is not uniform, production prices
> are different from labour values.
> Is it possible to say that the greater the dispersion of organic
> compositions the higher the differences between prices and labour values.
> In other words: is it true that the price-value differences are an
> increasing function of the differences between the actual and the average
> organic composition of capital?
> My intuitive answer is Yes. But I do not trust intuition so much.
> Does anybody know if that proposition was proved by somebody?
> Ernesto

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