Re: [OPE-L] price of production/supply price/value

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sun Jan 29 2006 - 12:58:57 EST

Fred wrote:

>Secondly, you call this expression the "value" of commodities.
>But isn't it an expression of the price of production of
>commodities?  Or do you want to interpret (as I sense from
>your other messages) that the value of commodities IS the
>price of production of commodities?  If so, then I think
>this is a mistake, which obliterates the crucial distinction
>between the surplus-value produced in each industry and
>the average profit received in each industry.

Yes, I think we should obliterate this discussion even though
Marx was committed to it. In fact I don't
think your or Marx's macro theory is macro enough! Surplus value is not first
produced at the level of individual capitals or even individual branches.
Surplus value is a macro-economic magnitude produced by the
transindividual subject the working class.

In a recent message I wrote:

To my mind, surplus value is not produced at the level of individual
capitals or even
branches. For this implies that if one were to take away some
individual capitals or a whole
branch, then surplus value would be reduced accordingly. But the
capitalist totality is more
than a sum of its parts (it is not a Cartesian totality, to use
Stephen Cullenberg's term), for said taking away may not just reduce
surplus value but
destroy the system as such--there would be no surplus value at all. Just as we
say that moving a heavy table is not the work of the individuals Jim
and Bob but of the
collective or transindividual subject Jim-and-Bob, surplus value is
not produced by
separate workforces at individual capitals. Surplus value is produced
by the collective
working class. It is a macro phenomenon produced by a transindividual subject
(I think Lucien Goldmann's theory of the transindividual subject may be
one of the most important contributions to Marxist philosophy); surplus
value is appropriated at the level of the totality. Marx's social
ontology is based
on the reality of transindividual subjects. Methodological
individualist Marxism is
an impossibility.

>I think there is a bit of confusion here.  The expression
>m[(1+r)(c+v)] seems to suggest that c and v are defined in
>units of labor-time, and are transformed into quantities of money
>by multiplying them by m (i.e. the MELT).
>  But I argue that
>c and v are instead defined in units of money - as the two
>components of the initial money capital M at the beginning
>of the circulation of capital.  So m is superfluous in your

No, no I meant the opposite. c, v and r are all money sums, so we
have money prices of production [(1+r)(c+v)], and if we want to
know the abstract labor time that this money price of production represents--
that is, if we want to know the commodity's value, the abstract
labor time it represents--then we must know the value of money, i.e.
the labor time represented by the monetary magnitude price of production.
I say price of production converted back into labor time is the value and the
supply price of the commodity;
it differs from but regulates the actual exchange value of the
commodity as expressed in
its market price.

Ian then raises the hoary question--how is the value of money determined or
how is the monetary expression of labor time expressed.

Ajit has taken it as a dodge that Marx arbitrarily fixed it in his theoretical
investigation. But why this is more arbitrary than wishing money away or having
price expressed in the standard commodity as numeraire has not been clear.

Moreover, there has been no careful response to Naples', your and my arguments
that the purchasing price of money is not determined as it is with
other commodities
whose value is regulated in exchange by its price of production. Or
rather money
is not like most commodities in that its purchasing power does not allow for
the making of an average rate of profit.

Indeed Allin has even granted this point.

Yours, Rakesh

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