Re: [OPE-L] The roots of value theory

From: Diego Guerrero (diego.guerrero@CPS.UCM.ES)
Date: Tue Feb 27 2007 - 17:35:19 EST

Hi, Jurrian,

I agree with your points and some other interesting ideas of your wiki
entry, especially the importance of distinguishing between real and ideal
prices. But what I wanted to point out is related with what Jerry was
raising in another message about the relationship between the "order of
presentation" and the "real order" of a phenomenon. In explaining his
theory, Marx himself speaks, as you did, of real prices as an approximation
of ideal prices. This makes even greater sense if one thinks that there are
"many" real prices around "one single" ideal price. But up to what point
should we say that it is rather ideal prices that approximate real prices?
What do you think?



----- Original Message -----
From: "Jurriaan Bendien" <adsl675281@TISCALI.NL>
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 8:09 PM
Subject: [OPE-L] The roots of value theory

> 1) In reply to Diego: both could be true, and arguably one could think of
> a
> situation in which both are true at the same time. As I've argued before,
> the notion of equilibrium may refer to a number of different sorts of
> situations which are not infrequently confused. The difficulty with
> equilibria is typically how you know that you've got one in the real
> world -
> the only real observable evidence you have, is that prices or sales stay
> constant in some sense (usually a rare event). You are of course free to
> modify my wiki entry, if you think there is a mistake in it, I mean I do
> not
> claim to be a professional economist.
> My idea is that there is a number of categorically different kinds of
> prices
> possible - from actual prices paid to acquisition prices, from accounting
> prices to administered prices, from theoretical prices to hypothetical
> prices, and so on. Prices may furthermore be applied to different classes
> of
> objects under different conditions, from e.g. a packet of butter bought in
> a
> shop to labour, hedges, futures, services and leases. Among East European
> economists, this idea was more frequently theoretically acknowledged. It
> suggests, that we do not get beyond generalities in price theory, unless
> we
> consider the social-institutional frameworks within which those prices are
> set.
> I think the difference between a product-value and the ideal price of a
> product, as far as Marx was concerned, is that the product-value really
> exists, insofar as that product really takes X amount of society's current
> labour hours to make, something which the members of society necessarily
> have to adjust too even if they do not know its exact magnitude, and
> whether
> they are trading in it or not, whereas the ideal price is a theoretical
> price. Thus, the production price would be in most cases a theoretical
> price
> level, which could be thought of either as some sort of equilibrium price,
> or a regulating price (I think that, given what Marx says about the
> production price, it is better interpreted as a regulating price level, a
> sort of price-norm). As I have mentioned in a simplified introductory
> article I also think one
> ought to distinguish between enterprise production prices, sectoral
> production prices and economic production prices.
> What makes things complex is, that real prices and ideal prices can
> mutually
> influence each other, just as values and actual price signals can
> influence
> each other over time inasmuch as market demand and labour-expenditures
> adjust to each other. I discovered the importance of this myself when
> doing
> research in social and economic statistics, but you can also see that
> operating in the price-reckoning of ordinary business activity. So one of
> the things you would need to do to complete Marx's theory, would be to
> consider the "price form" and its different modalities, since although
> much
> of textbook economics regards prices as obvious things, there is much more
> to it. Indeed, nowadays an interface is developing between price theory
> and
> information theory. I think if we examine the price-form itself more
> closely, we get more clues as to why so much of economics oscillates
> between
> the objective and the subjective in a more or less eclectic manner, quite
> apart from the lack of a coherent theory of value.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Feb 28 2007 - 00:00:09 EST