From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Fri Nov 10 2006 - 12:29:13 EST
> But there is no transformation problem in the real world. I agree. There is no transformation problem in theory either, even in the much discussed case of realised uniform profits in a deterministic framework. > Obviously you are right when you say that labour has to be expended > in producing capitalist consumption goods. Marx's reproduction schemes > show this in department 3. It has already been accounted for there. Yes everybody counts the direct labour used-up to produce the net product, including capitalist consumption goods. But labour values are not direct labour, in the modern context they are vertically integrated labour costs. I am saying something a bit deeper when I point out that the Sraffian formula fails to count the labour-embodied in capitalist consumption goods as a real cost. > Looked at another way this labour is indirectly represented in the > surplus hours worked by workers in sectors 1 and 2. I don't see what > advantages your accounting scheme has over that used in Capital II. Why do you think my approach differs from Marx in Vol II? I have found one quotation in TSV that suggests Marx would not count the labour-embodied in capitalist consumption as a labour-cost that is transferred to the product (don't have it to hand at the moment). But the issue of what Marx really thought on this matter is not clear to me, rather it is subtle and complex. According to Sraffians Marx's approach in Capital II only holds under the special assumption of proportionality between price and value. In my approach, Marx is justified in using a MELT to translate between price and labour value throughout all 3 volumes. Sraffa completely ignores money-capital but Marx does not. He calls it the "prime motor" of production. Yet his discussion of money-capital in Vol II is in my view incomplete because he concentrates his attention on metallic money. Sraffa cannot be taken too seriously as a theorist of capitalist production principally because he ignores the commodity money-capital. Rather he is a critic of the neoclassical theory of value of his day. A side-effect of his failure to reduce the commodity money-capital to its labour cost in his "reduction to dated labour" formula is the neo-Ricardian critique of the Marxist theory of value. > > The danger of your approach is that > > 1. It makes capitalist consumption appear necessary. > 2. It is redundant given the theory of surplus labour. Regarding (1): Capitalist consumption is actual. But of course, the given level is not necessary. Why do you think that counting the labour used-up in the production of capitalist consumption as a cost can justify a claim that a given level of capitalist consumption is necessary? On (2): I'm sorry I don't understand you. Steedman claims that the LTV is redundant because of the existence of a TP. F&M concede this point in the context of deterministic models with a realised uniform profit rate. But this neo-Ricardian critique is mistaken, even before relaxing the requirements for conservation by moving to probabilistic models. According to classical theory there are two kinds of price-value divergences: (i) those due to out-of-equilibrium supply and demand mismatches, and (ii) those due to profit-equalising prices, a factor both in and out of equilibrium. My point is that (ii) is not real, rather a conceptual problem inherited from the classical economists.
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