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

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@WFU.EDU)
Date: Sun Mar 18 2007 - 23:04:36 EDT

On Sat, 17 Mar 2007, Pen-L Fred Moseley wrote:

> M is whatever it is in the real capitalist economy.  With
> unlimited resources, one could estimate M.  But this is not
> necessary for the theory.  M is an actual magnitude, which
> exists prior to the production of the output, and which can be
> taken as given as such, whatever it is.

I think Paul has a good point in his critique of the "given-ness"
of M.  Duncan Foley has made a related point, which pertains to
Fred's claim that M (whatever it is) "exists prior to the
production of the output".

That is, a stash of "money to be advanced" can be said to exist
_prior_ to production only (a) at the micro level of individual
firms (perhaps!) or (b) in a fictional economy on a synchronized
annual agricultural cycle.  In real capitalist economies
production cycles are of various time spans and are intertwined.
There's no macroeconomic time "prior to production" at which one
could count up M.  (What we can count: stocks at a point in time,
anf flows over a definite period of time).

Ian made the point that sums of money have a real existence,
whether as stashes of coin or as bit patterns on bank computer
hard drives (I paraphrase).  That's true, but Paul's point is that
it's not at all clear which of these real money-tokens should be
added up to give Fred's "M".

Allin Cottrell

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