Re: The increasing transformation problem

From: Michael Eldred (artefact@T-ONLINE.DE)
Date: Thu Jun 12 2003 - 12:03:47 EDT

Cologne 12-Jun-2003

Paul Cockshott schrieb Tue, 10 Jun 2003 22:50:42 +0100:

> Paul Bullock wrote:
> this is the difference between us in the understanding of Marx's method,
> value is a social relation, the price is the quantitative expression of
> a form of appearance of value, as a thing. How do you measure the
> 'distance' between a relation and its 'thingified' expression, between
> quality and quantity?
> 1. Is it appropriate to speak of value as quality rather than
>    quantity - I dont think so since Marx constantly deals with
>    it as a quantitative concept - ideas like rate of surplus value
>    would make no sense unless it is quantitative. It is defined
>    in terms of a quantity of socially necessary labour.

This jumps ahead of all the elementary questions concerning the phenomenon
of value which arise prior to considering whether there is such a thing as
magnitude of value and what is its measure. These elementary ontological
questions determine beforehand the kind of ontic scientific undertaking you
can pursue in making hypotheses and testing them empirically.

As Hegel remarks with respect to Locke's empiricist philosophy, "The
dialectical view is abandoned completely, as well as truth altogether.
Another question is: Are these general determinations true in and for
themselves?" (Hegel Werke Bd.20 S.210).

Dialectics is a talking-through of the phenomena in the attempt to bring
their manifold aspects to light and define them within an adequate concept
of themselves. To do this, thinking has to overcome and loosen up the
blinding obviousness of the phenomena so that they divulge their
questionability. In Marxism, the greatest questionability which has hardened
to rock-hard unquestionability surrounds the phenomenon of value and its
adequate concept. Such rock-hardness enables social science. But the
question of value is a philosophical-ontological question. Ontology is not
understood within Marxism.

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-  artefact text and translation _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_- made by art  _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ _-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ Dr Michael Eldred -_-_-

> There
>    is nothing mysterious about that, it is in principle measurable
>    given enough information about the conditions of production.
> 2. Which is a relation?  Is it not exchange value? This is a relation
> between
>    two commodities. Price as a generalisation of exchange value
>    is also a relation, specifically an equivalence relation between
>    a commodity and money. At the level of the national i/o tables
>    what you have is a relation between the aggregate output of an
>    industry and a quantity of money. If we abstract from the output
>    itself we are left with a vector of money.
> 3. If you invert the i/o matrix you can extract the direct and
>    indirect labour required to produce each industries output, this
>    is a vector of labour hours.
> 4. Given two vectors one can correlate them to get a measure of
>    similarity, or alternatively normalise them and measure the
>    cosine of the angle between them using the dot product.
>    This measures the distances between the system of prices and
>    the system of values.
> 5. More generally what is a relation?
>    A binary relation is a set of pairs such that some predicate
>    holds. The exchange relation analysed in vol 1 of capital with
>    its relative and equivalent forms is just such a set of pairs.
>    Extending beyond binary relations, a relation is a set of
>    tuples such that some predicat is true, or alternatively we
>    can take the extension of the set to define the predicate.
> 6. When you say that value is a relation what do you mean?
>    What order of relation is it, what are the domains in the
>    relation? One response would be to say that it is a binary
>    relation with the domains being quantities of a product in
>    the first case and quantities of labour in the second case.
> 7. This relation is induced by a more complex structure which is
>    not itself a relation: namely the aggregate technical conditions
>    of production, and the social conditions under which these
>    are operated.
> > Paul,
> >
> >    From: Paul Cockshott
> >
> >      Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003 9:50 AM
> >      Subject: Re: The increasing transformation problem
> >       Paul Bullock wrote:
> >
> >     >   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.
> >
> >      This is simply wrong. With the advent of I/O tables one can
> >      work
> >      back to get estimates of values and compare these with
> >      prices.
> >      There is a lot of econometric literature doing this.
> >
> >     >
> >
> >      --
> >      Paul Cockshott
> >      Dept Computing Science
> >      University of Glasgow
> >
> >
> >
> >      0141 330 3125

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