Re: [OPE-L] why does the debate on the "transformation problem" continue?

From: Paul Cockshott (clyder@GN.APC.ORG)
Date: Sun Mar 25 2007 - 17:50:46 EDT

Quoting Jerry Levy <Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM>:

> Hence _you_ ask us to consider _your_ position -- for why
> no 'problem' exists.  Yet, if we were to do that (which, of course,
> we might very well do)  then we would continue the debate
> on the TP. And so on it goes.

I only got involved with the empirical work on prices of production
versus labour values because reviewers for Capital and Class initially
refused to publish time series data on the rate of surplus value
and organic composition of capital. We were told that these were
value categories that could not be used empirically. Faced with this objection
we  did additional work to show that in Britain prices correlated highly
with labour values, and that thus one could use price data to
work out the rate of surplus value.

My point is that you can forget about tranformation and carry out
empirical investigations on the basis of Capital vol 1.
Investigations into the rate of exploitation and the rate of
profit are the issues of primary interest to me here, particularly
the ability to use the labour theory of value in a polemical/propagandist
fashion. To do that you have to be able to say how many hours the
average worker looses to her employer, how much she would gain by
the abolition of exploitation etc.

What Allin and I present is not a theory of the TP, but new empirical
data which have implications for the context in which that debate
takes place. As far as I can make out those who have been debating
interpretations of the TP on ope-l have been debating it without
empirical investigation.

I am trying to find out, if they think our empirical data is wrong,
or do they think that even in the absence of a general rate of profit there is
still a transformation problem

Paul Cockshott

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