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

From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Sat Mar 24 2007 - 12:34:59 EDT

> I don't see how this is a reply to Naples' point which you did at one point concede.

Rakesh I didn't "concede" the point, I was happy to agree with it.

> No the important contradictions are not logical criticisms but real
> contradictions which Marx theorizes. The criticism is trivial, not the
> contradiction.

The criticism purports to demonstrate the logical impossibility that
price is a form of labour-value. Please explain how such a critique is

> But Marx showed that the contradiction was not logical but real; the real
> contradiction does not go away by saying that the ONLY theory which
> captures it is logically contradictory.

I agree.

> Which it is not.

So you say. But it appears logically contradictory in the context of
simultaneous determination.

> It's not a logical contradiction not to
> transform the inputs into the same prices of production as the outputs.

The TP is the logical contradiction that results *when* the inputs are
also transformed like the outputs.

One could argue, with Fred, whether this has got "nothing to do with
Marx's theory". But my primary interest is not Marx's particular
theoretical description of the labour theory of value. My primary
interest is understanding economic reality. So I don't find this
particular interpretative question of much interest.

In this context, I have a question for you: do you reject simultaneous
determination as a legitimate method of inquiry?

Andrew Kliman does in his recent book. And so does Fred. I am
interested in debating this  question, rather than what Marx really

> If that's not possible, all that may imply is the incompatibility of
> capitalist production with equilibrium. Big deal. Time to move on.

If the TP *did* imply that capitalist production is not compatible
with equilibrium, and that could be demonstrated, that would be a very
big deal indeed.

> >> At any rate, Marx never said that the cost prices had been left
> >> unmodified in the form of simple prices or price values or values. He
> >> has been misread for a very long time.

Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. There are passages in Vol 3 that
strongly suggest he knew he did not transform the inputs. But what
Marx said on this matter is somewhat of a side-issue because the TP is
essentially *post-Marx*.

> > Marx's proposal that prices of production redistribute surplus-value
> > is in my view correct, even in the special case of equilibrium. But to
> > say such things one has to engage with the modern critique on its own
> > terms.
> The modern critique should engage with Marx on his own terms.

At which point does the modern critique depart from Marx's terms?


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