Re: [OPE-L] Ricardo on the value of manufactured goods, or does the tail wag the dog?

From: Philip Dunn (pscumnud@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Date: Sun Apr 10 2005 - 05:00:16 EDT

Hi Jerry

Quoting Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM:

> > Ricardo is not concerned here about technological differences.
> Hi Phil,
> Here's the quote you cited previously:
> > The exchangeable value of *ALL* commodities, whether they be manufactured,
> > or the produce of the mines, or the produce of land, is ***ALWAYS***
> >  regulated,  not by the less quantity of labour that will suffice for
> > their  production under  circumstances highly favorable, and exclusively
> > enjoyed by those  who have peculiar facilities of production; but by the
> > greater quantity of  labour necessarily bestowed on their production by
> > those who have no such facilities; by those who continue to produce them
> > under the most  unfavorable circumstances;  meaning-by the most
> > unfavorable circumstances, the most unfavorable under which the
> > quantity of produce required, renders it necessary to carry on the
> > production. (emphasis added, JL)
> As you can see -- especially since I have highlighted it! -- Ricardo made
> a claim here about what ***ALWAYS*** regulates the exchange-value of
> ***ALL***  commodities.   Even though he didn't explicitly refer to
> technological differences among capitals in the above quotation,  when he
> makes a claim about what "always" regulates exchange value for  "all"
> commodities that necessarily *must* include cases where there are
> technological differences among capitalists producing the same commodities.
> In solidarity, Jerry

Not for Ricardo.  Differences in technology are temporary and changes soon
spread throughout an industry.  They are just not there:

Having fully acknowledged the temporary effects which, in particular employments
of capital, may be produced on the prices of commodities, as well as on the
wages of labour, and the profits of stock, by accidental causes, without
influencing the general price of commodities, wages, or profits, since these
effects are equally operative in all stages of society, we will leave them
entirely out of our consideration, whilst we are treating of the laws which
regulate natural prices, natural wages and natural profits, effects totally
independent of these accidental causes. In speaking then of the exchangeable
value of commodities, or the power of purchasing possessed by any one
commodity, I mean always that power which it would possess, if not disturbed by
any temporary or accidental cause, and which is its natural price.

[Ch 4]


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