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 Aug 13 2007 - 19:48:46 EDT

Hi Ajit

> (1) Your labor-value is a defined category as a
> measure of difficulty of producing something in terms
> of its direct and indirect labor content. I think
> that's how it should be, but then the question of "a
> theory of labor-value" has no meaning.

I have a different definition of labour-value than the standard one.
This raises a number of issues, such as: (i) what is a definition of
labour-value supposed to do?, (ii) what do labour-values actually
denote?, (iii) of the two definitions, is one correct and the other
incorrect, or are they simply answers to different questions? If so,
which is appropriate when we compare labour-values to the price
system? And so forth.

> (2) The dated labor approach is not designed to
> calculate labor-values--labor-values are calculated
> exactly the way you do above. The dated labor approach
> is to determine what Marx would call prices of
> production. It is simply another way of showing that
> if you have information to calculate labor-values then
> with additional information of the rate of profit you
> can calculate prices of production. This method works
> in single commodity production systems only, it cannot
> be applied in multiple commodity production systems,
> which is the general case--and Marxists should stop
> keeping their eyes closed to the problems of
> labor-value in multiple production cases. Sraffa's
> dated labor approach had only negative purpose--to
> show that all the methods to aggregate capital
> independently of the rate of profits will come to
> naught.

I pretty much agree with what you say. Except Sraffa's dated formula
yields the standard formula for labour-values when profits are zero,
and Sraffa notes this point; so his dated representation is connected
to the calculation of labour-values. The dated interpretation of the
standard formula for labour-values that I present in my paper is more
inspired by Dmitriev and Samuelson rather than Sraffa.

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