Re: [OPE-L] standard commodity

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Fri Mar 11 2005 - 02:10:04 EST

Dear Andrew, I am glad that you are intrigued. My
position is that a theory of value is well defined
only within a given system of basic goods. May be
economics can do a lot when things change over a
period of time, but it should not rest itself on a
theory of value in those cases. My sense is that
Sraffa wanted economics to be "descriptive" rather
than 'predictive" or "prescriptive". The problem of
new machines etc. being produced is not a problem
within the context of a given system of basic goods.
All new goods including new kinds of machines are
non-basics for the given system of production. Cheers,
ajit sinha

--- Andrew Brown <A.Brown@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK> wrote:
> Thanks to Paul and Ajit,
> Have always been intrigued by Ajit's interpretation
> of Sraffa (I speak
> as an interested layman on Sraffa). Paul, I did not
> think you subscribed
> to Ajit's interpretation. I thought you held a
> labour theory of value. I
> thought that Ajit, by contrast, takes Sraffa to show
> us that no theory
> of value, in any accepted sense, is possible (time
> -- technical change
> -- takes us from one 'system' to another, analogous
> to moving from one
> 'language game' to another, hence rather disabling
> economic science).
> But the conclusion to this paper talks about a
> fundamental limitation on
> economic science as such, in line with Ajit's view,
> thus I am puzzled
> that you (Paul) should subscribe to it. No doubt I
> have misinterpreted
> both of you - so apologies in advance for that...
> To my inexperienced mind, a more fundamental point
> than the one you make
> in this paper is that 'technical change', in the
> real world, involves
> change in the goods produced (e.g. a new machine).
> Given such a change,
> then you can't compare prices before and after
> change (as you do in the
> paper, by keeping the economy's goods qualitatively
> identical) can you?
> Albeit this doesn't provide the immanent angle on
> general equilibrium
> theory, but perhaps it makes Ajit's point more
> forcefully, when it comes
> to practical (real world) considerations? Or, more
> likely, I have got
> something wrong somewhere.
> On a related aside, perhaps you can help me with the
> following. The
> Okishio theorem tells us that viable technical
> changes cannot lower the
> rate of profit. But how can this tell us about 'real
> world' technical
> change, where, say, a new good is introduced? As far
> as I can see it can
> tell us nothing about such a case, but no doubt I
> have got all this
> horribly wrong (people as far apart as Steedman and
> Fine seem to me to
> have stated that 'empirically' the rate of profit
> can only fall if real
> wages rise).
> Many thanks,
> Andy
> -----Original Message-----
> From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Paul Cockshott
> Sent: 08 March 2005 12:08
> Subject: [OPE-L] standard commodity
>  Ajit and I have written a paper on the significance
> of the Standard
> commodity which, with Gerry's permission I am
> posting to the list.
> It is at:
> >

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