From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Wed Feb 01 2006 - 14:22:29 EST
Hi Andy Yes, two separate points. On the second point -- refutation of N-R critique. >This rests on the propostion that social reproduction requires labour, and its >product, to be allocated in certain proportions. The set of feasible proportions is >certainly large but much smaller than that of non-feasible proportions. These >proportions can only be met if exchange of products is bounded by limits set by >SNLT. If they aren't the economy collapses. I don't have to 'show' anything more >than this to refute Steedman. I'm sure Steedman would agree that labour must be allocated in certain proportions. So do all kinds of commodities. But he'll shrug his shoulders -- because, according to him, labour-value accounting is not adding anything to the analysis. What's the point of taking the detour? Quantitatively, we cannot say, along with Marx, that, for example, the profit-rate is primarily explained by labour-value accounting, that total profit is a nominal representation of an amount of surplus labour, or that the essential distributional variable is the rate of exploitation etc. Of course the economy will collapse without labour in proportions for reproduction. But we want to understand economic value. Real-costs measured in corn, iron, cake etc. also set constraints and limits. >However we can fruitfullly ask why he has been led astray, and how labour-times >actually take effect. The answer lies, inter alia, in the fact that he deals with the >static case. If you look at the dynamic case then it becomes much clearer how >labour-time keeps prices in check: whenever capital tries to move away from the >source of its life-blood, surplus value production, it finds it cannot do so, in crisis. >Maybe a primitive mathematical way of putting it is that the effect of growth rates >serves to magnify that of levels, yet the static case examines only the latter. What >look like wide and trivial limts in levels suddenly become narrow and constraing >limits once growth rates are studied (cumulative causation). By 'growth' I mean >changes cause by new investment through time, not 'steady state growth' (which >is not really growth at all). OK, what quantitative relation obtains between labour-value and price accounting when there is non-proportional growth? What work are you referring to? Is it a kind of "contraint" much like Morishima's FMT for the static case? Morishima, if I recall correctly, argued that labour-value accounting is conservative with price-accounting under conditions of growth in "standard proportions" (plus some conditions on capitalist consumption, I think). Another special case in which Marx's conservation claims hold. But not a general case. Ollin-Wright in the "Value Controvery" outlines a constraint-based theory of labour-value constraining the profit-rate, but it is effectively rebuffed by Hodgson, I think. > An aside re. simplest vs more complex cases: For me the simplest case is where the value and price of inputs is held constant through the transformation (the OCC case, not VCC case, employing Fine/Sadd-Filho interpretation of Marx's definitions), where conservation laws hold perfectly at the aggregate level, as shown in vol 3 ch 9. If you get the time to explain Fine/Sadd-Filho's reaction to TP I'd be grateful. At first glance, the interpretation doesn't square with Marx's remarks on the need to transform cost-price. I wonder on what grounds should we *not* expect Marx's conservation claims to hold under conditions of simultaneous determination and uniform profits? -- I'm not sure anyone has really answered this. TSS, for instance, has rejected simultaneous determination, and attempted to elaborate simple dynamic cases in which conservation holds. They seem to be saying that "input prices=output prices" is simply impossible, and reject equilibrium analysis altogether. This is an implicit admission that under the conditions set down by Bortkiewicz, Marx's conservation claims don't hold. F&M, for instance, have rejected uniform profits. They explicitly concede that under the conditions set down by Bortkiewicz, Marx's conservation claims don't hold. Others have rejected one of Marx's conservation claims under the conditions set down by Bortkiewicz (e.g. Foley/Dumenil). Sorry to temporarily put on a neo-Ricardian hat! Best, -Ian.
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