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

From: Diego Guerrero (diego.guerrero@CPS.UCM.ES)
Date: Tue Apr 03 2007 - 13:57:47 EDT

Hi, Jerry,

To no one in particular. To the list.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jerry Levy" <Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM>
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 5:49 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] questions on the interpretation of labour values

> Diego:
> Who was the following post addressed to?
> In solidarity, Jerry
> ----- Original Message -----
> Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 1:57 PM
> Subject: Re: [OPE-L] questions on the interpretation of labour values
> Let's focus on the core of the problem. Many people tend to think of
> values
> as quantities of labour, and of prices of production as quantities of
> money.
> My first proposal is to look at the quantitative dimension of this
> relationship: we can define both of them as quantities of labour as well
> as
> quantities of money. The passing from one measure to the other is done
> through the melt (monetary expression of labour time), which is simply the
> quotient between the aggregate monetary value-added and the sum of direct
> labour.
> One of Marx's main ideas is interesting for us too: capital pursues to
> expand itself as fast as possible. We start from a definite amount of
> capital at the origin, not defined as the product of quantities of
> commodities by their prices but as something prior coming from the
> primitive
> accumulation of capital: a quantity of money that is going to create for
> the
> first time capitalist prices through the use of wage-labour for the first
> time too. After this, the accumulation of capital will keep going on a
> capitalist basis.
> What it is so in historical terms is also the same in logical terms at
> present. It is wage labour the source of surplus-labour as surplus-value
> and
> profit. Making others to work is the way capital gets its values and
> profits. Labour is the dynamic force in the process; the rest is static.
> To
> confound this due to the fact that the machines are moving and instead of
> still is childish. In the capitalist mode of production all has a price
> and
> this phenomenon is due to the existence and operation of living
> wage-labour.
> 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. He 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.
> 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.
> Please, don't divert the discussion towards secondary aspects. Do you
> agree
> or not with the main points?
> Cheers,
> Diego

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