Re: [OPE-L] a paper on Marx's transformation problem and Ricardo's problem of an invariable measure of value

From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Mon Jul 16 2007 - 20:40:20 EDT

> A critical step in your argument is in the transition from page 3 to
> page 4. Here you argue that the dated labour values interpretation assumes a
> growing economy. This seems to me to be too strong. One can interpret the
> reduction to dated labour in a way that is consistent with simple reproduction.

This is not the argument. Perhaps you are reading too quickly?

The reduction to dated labour is entirely consistent with simple
reproduction. At no point do I argue that it is inconsistent.

Indeed later, in section 6, I argue that *any* definition of
labour-value *must* support a dated interpretation that describes a
hypothetical process of growth. Standard and nonstandard labour-values
share this property. This is due to the irreducibility of the standard
unit of measure.

> An alternative interpretation of the terms in your expansion (6) is
> simply that the amounts
> Of labour that have to be expended to produce the current output are
> less in each successive previous time period. This does not mean that
> the economy actually used less labour in the previous periods, just that
> as we go back through the previous years a smaller and smaller portion
> of those years labour was necessary to ensure this years production.

> What is presupposed is not exponential growth of production, but a
> comparision with what would have occurred if part of the depreciation
> fund had been consumed. The dated quantities of labour represent the
> part of the depreciation fund that would have had to have been consumed
> in previous periods to ensure that there was no net output in the
> current period.

From page 3: "In equilibrium there are multiple, self-consistent
interpretations of the economic meaning of labour-values. This essay
will focus on a `dated' interpretation solely for pedagogical
purposes. The results, however, are independent of the chosen

I find your proposed interpretation overly complex. But it might be an
interesting exercise to apply it to both standard and nonstandard
labour-values and see how they differ. For example, in footnotes and 5
and 8 I apply a marginal interpretation to standard and nonstandard
labour-values in order to further understand their differences.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Jul 31 2007 - 00:00:06 EDT