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

Date: Tue Mar 20 2007 - 07:47:04 EDT

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 11:55:14 +0100
From: Riccardo Bellofiore <>
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] questions on the interpretation of labour values

Hi Jerry.

First of all, apologies to all. I had to
disappear from the discussion for work, but also
the unexpected invitation to give my comments
for a week at the daily special on the economy
of the most important public channel, in 60
seconds (sic). It is exciting desperately
seeking to say something in no time at all, and
be sure that all the comrades will complain. So
I am not even opening the mails.

I opened yours by chance, however. Very quickly,
here I agree with you only 50%.

Yes, Marx's argument is not framed in
micro/macro terms. Hence from the point of
INTERPRETATION strictly speaking, it does not
work. The same is true, btw, with the language
of the representative firm.

But NO, from the point of view of RECONSTUCTION
the micro/macro (NOT the representative agent)
language is enlightening, and it even opens new
vistas on interpretation.

In Volume I, for example, it is clear that going
on Marx moves from the individual capital as
representative of the total, to a reasoning
where the argument in terms of total capital in
a class and monetary economy is OPPOSED to the
conclusions which seemed to be reached at first.
So, the macro logic is different, and opposed,
and more fundamental than the 'micro'
(representative firm) one.

A true (monetary, class) macrofoundation of microeconomics.

The details are in my chapter in the Bellofiore/Taylor book.

And indeed my criticism to Fred is not only that
his is a RECONSTRUCTION (quite legitimate, of
course). It is mainly that it is NOT TRULY mac
ro and monetary. The details in that chapter.

ciao, and again apologies to all.


>At 13:25 -0500 19-03-2007, Jerry Levy wrote:
>>  > 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
>Riccardo Bellofiore
>Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
>"Hyman P. Minsky"
>UniversitÓ di Bergamo
>Via dei Caniana 2
>I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
>direct   +39-035-2052545
>secretary    +39-035 2052501
>fax:     +39 035 2052549

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