From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Sun Jan 29 2006 - 23:56:09 EST
Hi Fred > The past labor component of the total labor is derived from the given > constant capital (which is equal to the price of production of the means > of production), by dividing the given constant capital by the MELT (or, as > Rakesh puts it, by multiplying the given constant capital by the value of > money): > > PL = C / MELT > > In general, the past labor derived in this way will not be equal to the > labor-time required to produce the means of production, because the prices > of production of the means of production are in general not equal to the > simple prices of the means of production. > > The labor-time required to produce the means of production has already > been objectively expressed by the price of production of the means of > production (which is equal to the constant capital advanced to purchase > the means of production, prior to production). Even though this is not a > perfect representation of the labor-time required to produce the means of > production, this is how this labor-time has already been represented, and > it is this already-existing imperfect representation of past labor that > becomes the first component of the total labor contained in commodities. OK, prior to transformation, labour value is not conserved in cost price. > However, the situation is different with the other component of the total > labor - the current labor. The quantity of current labor is not derived > from the given variable capital, because current labor produces new-value, > which did not previously exist before current production. And the > quantity of new-value produced is determined by the product of the > quantity of current labor and the MELT; i.e. > > NV = (MELT) L > > And the new-value produced by current labor is in general greater than the > given variable capital (which is of course the secret of surplus-value). Doesn't Marx assume that the rate of surplus-value is a function of the variable capital? E.g., 10 hours worked in a day, rate of surplus-value is 10%, then surplus-value produced is 1 hour. Doesn't Marx assume, in his transformation, that the size of the variable capital directly represents the amount of actual labour put into motion by a given capital? > > So the relation between labor-time and prices is different for the two > components. For the transferred value component, past labor-time is > derived from price, because the price of the means of production already > exists and this already existing price is taken as given and becomes the > first component of the simple price of commodities. On the other hand, > for the new value component, price is determined by labor-time, because > new-value did not previously exist, but is instead the result of the > current period of production. In this case, the quantity of current L is > taken as given and determines (along with the MELT) the quantity of > new-value produced. OK. Cost price really is price, because it is advanced to production, and represents past production. Value-added, in contrast, is not determined by price, but by actual labour-time, because it is current production. So, as far as I understand it, you differ from Marx in ch.9, who doesn't make this distinction between (i) cost-price as price and (ii) new value as a function of labour-time and MELT (happy to be corrected). No quarrel if you differ from Marx, because his transformation is incomplete, by his own admission. > This point is discussed more fully in my "sympathetic critique of the new > interpretation" paper which was attached to my last message. Fred, I understand if due to time etc. you do not wish to fully continue. I should read all your papers carefully. But any clarifications or comments would be very welcome. Best, -Ian.
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