From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@WFU.EDU)
Date: Sat Apr 07 2007 - 22:24:27 EDT
On Sat, 7 Apr 2007, Rakesh Bhandari wrote: > Moreover, when, how often and as a result of what do you think > prices of production change? > > Importantly, RIcardo himself thought that unit values were > changing very regularly... You're replying to Fred here, but I think that in the relevant respect my view are close to Fred's so I'll dive in. Of course, in the real economy "everything is changing all the time" (more or less). Marx and Ricardo knew that; everyone knows that (even including the neoclassicals!). But that's not the point. Marx was interested in (among other things) "modeling" the quantitative relationships between certain key magnitudes in the capitalist economy. This is a difficult task at the best of times, and all the more difficult if you try to incorporate continuous change. Therefore, Marx _assumed_ "no change" in certain variables, for analytical purposes, even though he was well aware that this assumption was in a sense artificial. Specifically, when conducting his quantitative investigation of the relationship between values and prices of production Marx assumed that values were constant (and therefore, also, prices of production). One step at a time: if you can get that right, then maybe you can move on to the case of continuous change, but that is an order of magnitude more complicated. You emphasize the philosophical aspect of Marx's discourse. Fair enough, that it is an important aspect. But you're not giving another aspect its due: Marx's attempt at a quantitative understanding. That is a valid intellectual discipline in its own right, and you can't short-circuit it by trying to understand "everything at once", including continuous change in all the terms. Not if you want to produce meaningful results. Allin.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Apr 30 2007 - 00:00:16 EDT