Re: [OPE-L] basics vs. non-basics

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Thu Sep 29 2005 - 04:59:08 EDT

Diego Guerrero wrote:
> /Paul C. wrote:/
> //
> /Table 1
>         iron    corn    labour  output          surplus
> iron    440     1100    110     825             185
> corn    100     500     50      2250            550
> silk    100     100     20      1000            1000
> totals  640     1700    180
> /
> *But how do you sum the different physical inputs in order to obtain
> those "totals"? Total of what? You need to use either (labour) time or
> another unknown physical property (common to all commodities) that you
> should mention. If not, you must be using monetary prices (ie, ratios of
> labour times used in producing commodities and money).*
> *Yours,*
> *    Diego*
Reading my reply to you last night I can see that it was too cryptic.

Let me explain more clearly.

The column labeled IRON would all be measured in Kilos of iron per annum
the column labeled CORN would all be measured in some standard volume, say
liters of corn
the column labeled LABOUR would measure the number of people working since
labour is person hours, and we are looking at annual figures so person hours/year
amounts to persons.

the submatrix represented by the columns output and surplus will
be typed by row, with the units being kilos of iron per year for the
first row, the second row would be liters of corn per year, the
final row would be square meters of silk per year.

In this form the structure is what one would need for detailed
socialist planning in-natura as originally proposed by Neurath and
then elaborated by Lange.

Of course if one is doing empirical work in a capitalist country you
do not have access to such in-natura statistics. Instead one has to
work from the monetary aggregates that you discuss. But this is a reflection
of the inadequacy of the statistics collected by the state. The
physical quantities exist, and are recorded in a dispersed way in the
records of the companies making the products. In principle the data
could be collected even though, in a capitalist economy, the state
sees no need to collect the data.

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