Re: [OPE-L] SV: [OPE-L] what is irrational in the functioning of capitalism?

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed Nov 29 2006 - 09:59:31 EST

I was thinking of Spencer Pack's analysis of total automation in his
Reconstructing Marxian Economics.

And it occurred to me that Marx  says that the value of a commodity
only regulates its price when social labor relations have to be
organized through the exchange of commodities as a result of private
production for profit. Society has to, as it were, discover the quota
of social labor time it has to allocate to the different branches of
production, and due to its relations of production bourgeois society
can  do this only by imputing value to things and reacting to price
differentials from it.

Of course if the economy were on auto pilot, then value would not
regulate prices and consequently profits. You could have positive
profit and prices in a total automation economy but that economy
would have different laws of motion than a capitalist economy. Indeed
it would be solving a different problem than a capitalist economy.
The problem would be the distribution of the surplus conceived only
in use value terms not the quantitative and qualitative allocation of
social labor time.

If you don't have a time allocation problem you can't have value.
Seems pretty basic to Marx's theory to me. But I am not an economist.


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