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

From: Pen-L Fred Moseley (fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU)
Date: Sun Mar 25 2007 - 10:16:17 EDT

Quoting Rakesh Bhandari <bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU>:

> Fred,
> What Marx is saying is simple: "In writing up my tables, I assumed
> that the value transferred from the used up means of production was
> proportional to the cost price of the used up means of production but
> since we now know that the means of production had to have been
> purchased at market prices regulated by prices of production rather
> than value, I really don't have a way of determining the value
> transferred in each branch from the cost price of using up of means
> of production, but we should not assume that the value transferred is
> proportional to (or can be identified with) the cost price of the
> used up means of production.  I also assumed that wage goods were
> bought at value but as they probably sold above or below value, fewer
> or more workers could have been hired with the advanced v than I
> assumed, and the rate of surplus value was accordingly lower or
> higher than I had assumed. Now that I have introduced the
> understanding of the difference between price of production and
> value, I should revise my transformation tables so that I do not
> identify the value transferred from the means of production with the
> manifest cost price of the used up means of production, but I have no
> way of determining from what is available to me in a fetishistic
> economy--that is, price data--what the exact respective values of the
> used up means of production were, but it also does not really matter
> to the logic of the transformation as we know the total new value
> added will tend to be distributed to equalize profit rates on the
> basis of differences in the cost prices of the various sectors. "

Rakesh, as both of us know, you and I have very different
interpretations of Marx’s theory of prices of production.  I interpret
this theory as moving from aggregate prices to industry prices (and
from total money surplus-value to industry average profit).  And you
interpret this theory as moving from prices back to labor-times (which
you have called, following my suggestion if I remember correctly, an
“inverse transformation problem”).

I think we are going to have to leave it at that for now.


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