Re: [OPE-L] questions on the interpretation of labour values

From: Diego Guerrero (diego.guerrero@CPS.UCM.ES)
Date: Mon Mar 05 2007 - 08:24:42 EST

Hi, Ajit,

You said:
> Let's say M = 500$ and C = 50 tons of iron. How is M =
> C? What you want to say is, Pc. C = M, so you already
> have introduced price of C. Similarly, when you say M'
> = C' is nonsense. What you must mean is M' = Pc.C'.
> Now it is also not clear whether your context is a
> factory, an industry or the whole macroeconomy and
> whether C and C' represent one good or several goods.
> So please clarify your situation and then explain what
> could you mean by "exchange of equivalents".

This is basically the same question raised by Ian.

What I say is that when you observe M - C .P. C' - M',
meaning that a firm (or a national economy) expends $100 now and gets $150
what really happens is that the firm or the economy is mobilizing, by means
of a previously extracted mass of unpaid labour of 10, a mass of total
labour of 15, due to the fact that for example workers work 12 hours and are
reproduced themselves with commodities that are produced in only 7 hours.
I am not using prices for _seeing_ this. I start from the universal
observation in real capitalist economies that there are a strong
relationship between real masses of labour spent in creating new commodities
and real masses of money mobilized in markets by them. Lots of examples of
the same close quantitative relationships in different places and different
moments, as shown by serious studies performed by many people, make me to
conclude that prices' behaviour is explained by labour's behaviour (at least
better that by any alternative theory I know).

> No! I don't agree. Your number 3 above only says that
> value is DEFINED as direct and indirect labor-time
> spent in producing a commodity. Now, this everybody
> knows. But how on earth you could conclude from here
> that if a commodity is sold for $100, its value must
> be 100 hours of labor? That's what beats me, and
> that's what I want to know. Cheers, ajit sinha

I look at real world and find this connection. Which is the connection you
make? May be that a commodity is sold for $100 because its price is $100?


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