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

From: Pen-L Fred Moseley (fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU)
Date: Sat Mar 31 2007 - 15:43:34 EDT

Quoting Diego Guerrero <diego.guerrero@CPS.UCM.ES>:

> I disagree with Fred in this: individual prices are for me as important as
> global prices. Capitalism is not just a question of exploitation but also of
> competition, and the competition war is mainly made through individual
> prices. But it is a fact that Marx, when analyzing a single process of
> production, deals-and I think we should do the same- with the individual
> price of the outputs whereas treats the price of the inputs as equal for all
> competitors in the branch.

Diego, I disagee with this (if I understand you correctly).  In the key
Chapter 7 of Volume 1, the analysis is not in terms of the price of a
pound of yarn.  Rather, the analysis is in terms of the total price of
all the yarn produced in a working day, which is first 15s for a 6 hr
WD, and then is 30s for a 12 hr WD.  The 30s is determined by the sum
of the 24s of the constant capital consumed and the 6s new value
produced by the worker during 12 hours.  Unit prices play no role in
the determination of this 30s.  Instead, unit prices are subsequently
derived by dividing this 30s by 20 lbs. of yarn (1s 6d).

> Marx is looking at the dynamic process of expending
> labour (in certain conditions of intensity, organization, duration of the
> working-say.) and this is why he takes as given the price of the inputs.

I agree with this of course.

> However, the latter doesn't mean that the prices of the inputs are different
> from the prices of the outputs (or if you prefer, it doesn't mean that their
> labour-values are different). To the contrary, they are and have to be the
> same. When some weeks ago I wrote that the prices of the inputs are taken as
> given, I meant the same as I mean now: the expenses of capital have to be
> taken as an 'indifferentiated' sum of money (which is a sum of labour, don't
> forget it) whereas the individual prices of the outputs are important also
> as 'differentiated' magnitudes. This is the basis for a correct
> understanding of the problem, and it is here where all interpretations
> stumble: the canonical, the NI, the TSS and also Fred's.

Diego, where exactly do you think I “stumble”?  Not enough attention to
unit prices?  Everything else pretty much OK?

Thanks again.


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