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

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Mon Mar 19 2007 - 18:44:39 EDT

If you are considering a single firm then the stash of money
seems fine for pedagogic or explanatory purposes.

When you consider the economy as a whole, which is what
is being considered at the level of the transformation problem
then it becomes less easy to see what it means.
Paul Cockshott

-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L on behalf of Jerry Levy
Sent: Mon 3/19/2007 6:25 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] questions on the interpretation of labour values
> 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.

Hi Allin and others:

I think this issue arises in Fred's perspective because he takes the
analysis of Volume 1 and capital-in-general to concern the
macroeconomy.  Suppose instead that the issue of  where the
initial M comes from and what its quantity is in the formula
M - C - M'  comes up in the context of what modern economists
call a "representative firm".   In more Hegelian language,  it might be
thought of as  a capitalist firm in the context of simple, undifferentiated
unity.  This isn't exactly a real firm because it is presented at a stage
when competition has not yet been posited. If this were the case, then
the macro issue in terms of stipulating the initial quantity of M doesn't
come up: one could plug in _any_ number so long as a) the number is
assumed to be sufficient to purchase C (MP, LP) and b) so long as
M' is larger than M.  The issue, after all, for Marx wasn't  what the
quantity of M in the beginning of the formula is; the issue was what is
the source of delta M at the end of the formula.

The micro/macro distinction that we're all familiar with doesn't work
very well in terms of  interpreting Marx's theory, imo.

In solidarity, Jerry

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